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Italian Chicken Francaise

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new here and I just love Italian cooking! I'm from South Florida and we have a bunch of Italian restaurants in the area that I frequent with my wife.

My question is that I love Chicken Francaise but I'm having some problems with a few things while making it at home. First, the batter and the chicken is very simple and I seem to have that down very well. My main problem is the final " wine sauce" that you serve over the angel hair pasta. I eat the dish at the Big Tomato Market Grill and a few other Italian restaurants and they always serve the Chicken Francaise over pasta, which I love, in a thick butter sauce.

My problem is that my final butter/lemon/wine sauce is always very watery and not thick like it is in the restaurant. Here are two recipes I tend to follow and I mix and match but can never get the final sauce down. I also posted the URL’s of the recipes so you can get a better look.

I usually follow the top recipe more then the bottom and everything about the batter goes well along with frying the chicken in the pan with butter and oil. But the wine/butter sauce is always a disaster. I dredge the butter in some flour then add the wine sauce and lemon but it NEVER comes out right! It is always to "winey" tasting or to oily/buttery, and it’s never thick like in the restaurant. Then the oil starts to separate and I try to throw in more flour to congeal it but nothing works?! In the restaurant it’s not to “winey” tasting either? The restaurants sauce is thick, but not to thick, creamy, and has a GREAT taste; What am I doing wrong? Please help me make a thick, nice tasting sauce for my Chicken Francaise served with angel hair pasta. If you have a recipe that you think would be easier please let me know.

Thanks so much,


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post #2 of 11



Here's how many restaurants do it so it holds. It's called a lemon beurre blanc. You can omit the heavy cream for a true classic beurre blanc.

Ingredients (Approximately)

About 1 T chopped shallots
1 c white wine
Lemon Juice
1/4 c heavy cream
1/2# butter cut into chunks, kept cold until ready to use

S+P to taste

Saute shallots until translucent and soft. You want to make available the starch from the shallots to help bind the sauce.

Deglaze with white wine and reduce until "sec" or dry. It should be the consistency of light corn syrup.

Add cream and reduce by half, or not ;)

Off the heat, whisk in butter one small block at a time. You can pull the pan on and off the heat to adjust the consistency of the sauce. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

If you're serving the King of France, strain before serving. If not, don't worry about straining.

post #3 of 11

If I were doing the dish according to your first recipe, I would also add chopped shallots (one big one is plenty) to the sauce, chopped rinsed/drained capers for salt plus flavor, and pepper. And some chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley at the end to smooth out the taste and add some color contrast.

Picking up in your recipe from where you remove the chicken from the pan and drain off the excess fat, follow Kuan's instructions to saute the shallot in the same pan, then add the wine and reduce it to almost dry. (You'll keep the flavors from the wine, but lose the water and alcohol.) Then add the lemon juice, let it reduce a little, and take the pan off the heat. Swirl in the cold butter bit by bit -- this will thicken your sauce with no need for flour. Stir in the capers and parsley and pour it over the chicken and pasta. This won't give you a huge amount of sauce, but it will be enough to coat everything lightly -- much more Italian than having everything swimming in sauce. :D

You see, if you melt the butter first, you turn it back into liquid, which is why Kuan said Wrong! Think about how softened butter (as you might use in baking) still stays thick and creamy. When you swirl cold butter into the hot pan sauce, you are melting it just enough for it to soften, but not to turn liquid.

And adding flour just give you a glommy, pasty, floury-tasting sauce (why Kuan was right with his Wrong!) -- not the light, elegant one you want for this dish.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the big problem I am having is that the butter/wine/lemon mixture is splitting into two parts butter and then a white mixture on the bottom. I was making my sauce by putting in the wine and lemon juice and letting the wine burn out... then I took the butter and chopped it into cubes and dredged them in the flour. I then placed them in with the wine/lemon mixture already in the pan. So what do I do? Cook them at a lower temp until it congeals?

Do I use heavy cream? I have never heard of this before?

I’m not using the wine they selected as I am using a wine that I cheap and in my area; what do you think of Santa Carolina Chardonnay from Chile?

Also, how do I get the chicken to be tender/softer like in the restaurant; do I use a meat mallet?

I like to make a big thing of the sauce too so is there anything I should do to make a nice big vat of it?

Thanks so much for the help as I love this meal and could make it every night,

FifthE1ement :bounce:
post #5 of 11
Heavy cream is your choice.

Wine selection is fine.

Chicken is chicken, don't know how you can make it more tender. Perhaps don't overcook it.

I would start practicing with two batches of sauce. Do the first without the cream. If it breaks, do the second with the cream, and then drizzle the first into the second slowly while whisking vigorously.

Chefs: Has anyone fixed a broken beurre blanc by simply whisking it into cream?
post #6 of 11
Please please STOP DREDGING YOUR BUTTER IN FLOUR!!!! Sorry to shout :o but that will only add pasty flour to your sauce, AND prevent the butter from doing its job of thickening.

One more time: take the pan with the sauce off the heat, then whisk or swirl in your cold butter. You only want to soften the butter to the point where it's creamy, NOT melt it completely.

You can easily scale up Kuan's beurre blanc recipe to make a bigger batch. But are you sure you really want to eat a lot of it, all the time? :eek: :D

As for the chicken, yes, if you pound it it will be somewhat softer (pounding breaks up some of the muscle fibers). But Kuan's point about not overcooking it is more important.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 


Ok, here’s what I did and it worked! It looked 100% like it does at the restaurant!

I boiled the wine and lemon for about 3-5 minutes until all of the alcohol was removed and the lemon was reduced to about 3 tablespoons in the pan. I then removed the pan from the heat and added chunks of butter, swirling it around until it all dissolved and threw in some chopped parsley. Only problem I had was that the sauce wasn't to hot; Is there any way to fix that? Although it could be a little thicker it was about 80% how it comes in the restaurant! I didn't have to add any flour or heavy cream either!

Thanks everyone so much for the help! I love the dish and I didn't know that by changing the cooking style it could make such a big difference on a meal. Any ideas on how to make the sauce a bit thicker and hotter? I’m afraid if I heat it up anymore it will separate like before?
post #8 of 11
Well done!

Pull on/off/on/off/on/off the heat to keep it at optimum temperature. It's a feel thing.
post #9 of 11
Brining the breats for an hour or two prior to cooking adds a lot of tenderness.
Don't mess with dragons. You will be crispy and taste good with catsup.
Don't mess with dragons. You will be crispy and taste good with catsup.
post #10 of 11
Brining does help keep the chicken moist, yes, but for that size piece of meat a brief time is actually better. Remember, the cut for this dish is usually skinless boneless breast. Thirty minutes or so is enough.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #11 of 11
Look on the package and see if there's added "solution" first.
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