Tender chicken in cream, a typical Romanian recipe for chicken smothered in a rich creme fraiche sauce with dill.
CHICKEN IN CREAM
This chicken in cream sauce is another Moldavian or Moldovan recipe that is famous all through Romania, I think most Romanian people have at least heard of it and many of them tasted one version or another of this delicious chicken in cream recipe.
I actually remember the first time I have ever had this kind of chicken in cream sauce. I was not more than 10, I suppose, and we were spending a part of our summer holidays in Moldova, where my grandfather was living at the time. He used to live in a small, neat town called Falticeni, which was not too far away from his birth village, where some of his family was still living.
A shame to have lost all relations in that direction, especially since, if you ask me, I am more like my grandfather than any of his many other grandchildren. Especially during the last years I sometimes get a shock when unexpectedly looking into the mirror and seeing my grandfather staring back at me...
Anyway, one day during these summer holidays, we went to his village Dolhasca and spent a very hot summer day there, my sister and I running around the garden with some other children, relatives from my grandfather's family, people I have never ever seen again afterward. So, I am not really sure who exactly we were visiting there, either a sister of my grandpa and her husband or the other way around, one of his brothers and his wife.
However, the woman of the house, an old woman wearing peasant clothing and a headscarf, cooked this delicious chicken in cream sauce, which we ate in the garden, in the sun and which left such a vivid memory in my mind.
I really don't remember much of that trip, but I do remember the heat, the amazing brightness of that day and the food.... Greedy, even then. 🙂 Another character trait I definitely inherited from my grandfather, my grandmother was quite ascetic when it came to food.
INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKEN IN CREAM
This recipe for chicken in cream or creme fraiche sauce couldn't be easier. You will only need 2 main ingredients: chicken and smetana or crème fraiche. Very cheap ingredients and yet you will be set with a meal fit for a king.
An original peasant recipe that, in its simplicity, tastes at least as good or better than any fancy meal made with expensive ingredients.
The amount of time and work you will need to make this chicken in cream sauce is minimal, your children will adore it and you will probably end up making it again and again.
Traditionally, you would use a whole chicken which you will cut into pieces. However, if all you have are chicken legs, divide them at the joint and use them to cook this cream chicken dish.
Smetana or creme fraiche:
Smetana is what you would use in Romania. Smetana is sour cream used in Eastern Europe and has a rather high fat content. It is similar to creme fraiche, so you can substitute smetana with creme fraiche, if necessary.
HOW TO SERVE CHICKEN IN CREAM SAUCE?
The chicken in cream is best served with polenta or mamaliga, but in case you don't have any, don't like it or are completely unfamiliar with it, try rice, boiled potatoes or even pasta (in extreme cases – I consider pasta to be quite un-Romanian) would do just as well.
If you go for salad, I suggest adding an extra tablespoon of vinegar to the vinaigrette, I find the vinegar to be able to cut through the extreme creaminess of the cream sauce very well. But that it is just a taste matter, try it and see how you like it best.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
Other Moldavian recipes to try:
Chicken in Cream Sauce
- 1 medium chicken or 4-6 whole chicken legs
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- about 500 ml/ 17 fl.oz/ 2 cups chicken stock to barely cover the chicken parts
- 400 ml/ 13.5 fl.oz/ 1 ¾ cups smetana or crème fraiche
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- fine sea salt and black pepper
- Cut the chicken into pieces: drumsticks, thighs, wings, and breasts. If using only chicken legs divide them at the joint into chicken thighs and drumsticks. Salt the chicken parts.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Fry the chicken parts until golden on all sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side together with the finely chopped onion.
- Add the garlic during the last 2-3 minutes.
- Pour some chicken stock into the pan to cover about ¾ of the chicken.
- Cover, turn the heat down, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. To make sure that the chicken is done, make a small cut into the thickest part of a thigh with a sharp knife, there should be no blood or any pink at all around the bone.
- Mix the smetana or crème fraiche with flour and the egg yolk. Pour the mixture into the pan, bring to a boil and let bubble for about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat, adjust the taste with salt and pepper, add the chopped parsley and dill and serve hot with polenta (or rice or potatoes) and salad or pickled vegetables.