Poulet Chasseur -- French “Hunter-Style” Chicken


Poulet Chasseur -- French “Hunter-Style” Chicken

Over the centuries, chefs have given their creations fanciful names to suggest the exotic, or occasionally the humorous, and to entice the jaded palate. The created dish may not actually have been linked with its evocative name, merely arguable that it could have been. Hunters and hunting have often been invoked in cooking when game or the arrival of colder weather gave the excuse for a sort of Woods-to-Table cuisine.

French “Poulet sauté Chasseur,” chicken cooked hunter’s style, is hearty and delightful.. The stew inevitably includes mushrooms, which the hunter, having bagged his kill, would thoughtfully have gathered from the forest floor, plus tarragon and other fresh herbs that he picked along the path home. It’s unclear where our hunter found his cooking wine or tomato. But, hey, it’s French. Don’t push it.


Despite its fanciful name and dubious story, this classical French dish is delicious. Serve it with scalloped or au gratin potatoes or with buttered noodles. Add crusty bread, a simple green salad and a light-bodied red wine.


The recipe serves six.

4 pounds chicken thighs with skin and bones (or 2 pounds boneless, skinless thigh)
2 tablespoons flour (or 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch, if avoiding gluten)

Salt and pepper for seasoning the chicken

1 large carrot
1 large stick celery
1 medium onion
3/4 pound mushrooms, preferably “Baby Bellas”
2 medium-large cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth, low salt

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 large bay leaf
3-inch piece of fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoon tomato paste (freeze the rest)

1 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon or parsley for finishing

For whole thighs, remove skin and excess fat. (Render the fat and skin if desired for cooking grease.) Cut thighs in half, through the bone, with a cleaver or heavy knife. If using boneless skinless thighs, cut them in half. Generously salt and pepper chicken pieces on both sides, then dust them with flour or cornstarch. Set aside. 

Dice peeled carrot, celery, onion, and mushrooms into 1/4-inch dice. (Alternatively, coarsely chop, separately, in a food processor.) Crush, peel, and mince garlic.

In a large Dutch oven or casserole, heat the rendered chicken fat or olive oil to medium high. Fry part of the chicken at a time, frying on both sides until golden, and remove to a bowl.


When chicken is fried, add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry carrot, celery, onion, mushrooms and garlic, scraping bottom of pan frequently. When vegetables are softened and just beginning to brown, Stir in the wine and cook it down slightly. Then add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, bay leaf, rosemary and tomato paste and “fry” 1/2 minute, stirring.


Add previously fried chicken and any juices. Stir to moisten, then simmer covered, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally, until chicken is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add a little water if sauce becomes too dry. Taste sauce and add salt as needed.

Serve now, or cool, refrigerate, and reheat later. Just before serving, check salt, and add a little if needed. Stir in most of the tarragon or parsley.. Dust the remainder of the fresh herb on top.

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