What’s Up, Hungry People!
Soubise is basically the cooler cousin of the classic béchamel sauce. How do you make it? Just add white onion and blend until it’s creamy! The result is a sauce that straddles the line between a puree and a silky-smooth sauce. It’s got a subtle sweetness that makes friends with pretty much any meat out there. As for me, I draped it over crispy chicken thighs, which sat on a cushy bed of garlic mashed potatoes and blanched broccoli.
To make traditional béchamel sauce, you’ll usually create a white roux and whisk in some milk or cream until everything is smooth sailing. Now, while a roux is not mandatory for our soubise, it does give the sauce some extra oomph in the thickness and depth departments. The transformation from béchamel to soubise happens when you add onions into the mix. And because we can, let’s toss in a pinch of cayenne pepper and a dash of parsley to kick up the flavor a notch.
Here’s What You Need
- Chicken thighs: The star of the dish, providing a juicy, flavorful meat that pairs perfectly with the soubise sauce.
- White onion: Contributes natural sweetness and depth to the soubise sauce; gets blended to creamy perfection.
- Butter: Used for searing the chicken, sautéing onions, and making the roux; adds richness and flavor throughout the dish.
- Flour: Helps in forming the roux that thickens the soubise sauce and makes it velvety.
- Heavy cream: Creates a creamy base for the soubise sauce and contributes to its luxurious texture.
- Fresh parsley: Used for garnish, it adds a pop of color and a hint of herbal freshness to the dish.
- Cayenne pepper: Optional, but adds a kick of heat that complements the creamy soubise sauce.
- Salt & Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the flavors of both the chicken and the soubise sauce.
Start off by melting a tablespoon of butter in a skillet and then add those chicken thighs skin-side down. Leave the chicken be until the skin gets that nice, crispy brown texture. Once it does, transfer the chicken, uncooked side down, to a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the remaining butter from the skillet over the chicken. Then, into the oven it goes for 25-30 minutes at 400°F.
Cooking the Onions for Soubise
While you’re patiently waiting for the chicken, melt two tablespoons of butter in a clean skillet and throw in your sliced onions. The trick to a pearly-white soubise is to sauté the onions until they’re soft but not caramelized.
Keep that heat low and steady for about 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent any unwanted browning.
When the onions are translucent, in goes the heavy cream. Let it simmer until it has thickened nicely.
Next, the onions and cream combo heads to a food processor or blender. Pulse until you get a smooth, creamy sauce, which should take about five minutes. For those who adore ultra-creamy textures, feel free to strain your sauce through a fine sieve. It’s optional but worth the extra step if you’re into it.
As your onions are blending, you can make a white roux if you want. Melt some butter in a clean skillet until it froths up.
Whisk in some flour and keep stirring until a smooth roux forms, usually in about 30 seconds. Add the blended onion sauce and mix it into the roux. Let it simmer until the soubise has reduced by about half. If it gets too thick, don’t fret! Just add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to loosen it up.
Chicken’s Done, Now What?
By now, your chicken should be about done. Make sure it has an internal temperature of 170°F along the bone. The skin should be crackly and the meat so tender it’s almost falling off the bone.
I nestled my chicken on a pile of garlic mashed potatoes and blanched broccoli. To top it all off, I sprinkled some cayenne pepper on the soubise sauce. It’s like the cherry on top, but for chicken.
Tips for Soubise Chicken
- Temperature Check: Invest in a meat thermometer to accurately gauge the internal temperature of your chicken. Undercooked or overcooked chicken can make or break the dish.
- Choosing Onions: Opt for sweeter varieties like Vidalia or Maui if you want a slightly sweeter soubise.
- Sauce Consistency: If your soubise sauce is too thick, you can add a splash more of heavy cream. If it’s too thin, simmer for a bit longer, but keep an eye on it!
- Browning the Chicken: Make sure the skillet is hot before you add the chicken. This ensures that the skin gets crispy without sticking to the pan.
- Non-Stick Pan for Roux: Using a non-stick pan can make it easier to create a smooth roux without worrying about it sticking to the bottom.
- Optional Sieve: Straining the sauce through a sieve is totally optional but doing it will give you a smoother texture. Some folks enjoy the rustic feel of an unstrained sauce.
- Salt & Pepper Timing: Seasoning the chicken before browning will provide a better flavor, but be cautious not to over-salt if you’re using salted butter.
- Roux Troubleshooting: If your roux becomes lumpy, don’t fret! A quick blitz in the blender can usually smooth things out.
- Herb Variations: If you’re not a fan of parsley, feel free to use other herbs like thyme or rosemary for topping.
- Storage Tips: Soubise sauce can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just gently reheat before serving.
Ready to serve up this flavorful dish to your Hungry People? With crispy chicken thighs, a creamy soubise sauce, and a sprinkle of optional heat, you’ve got yourself a meal that’s sure to satisfy. Whether it’s a weeknight dinner or you’re impressing guests, this dish is a foolproof win. Keep those tips in mind and you can’t go wrong.
Classic Soubise on Crispy Chicken
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place one tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken thighs, skin down, until the skin is browned and crispy—about three minutes. Do not flip the chicken. Place the chicken, uncooked side down, on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 25 minutes.
- While the chicken bakes, melt two tablespoons of butter in a clean pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté until softened, about fifteen minutes. Take care not to caramelize the onions. Stir until the volume of onions has reduced by half.
- Pour in the heavy cream and bring to a simmer for about five minutes. Transfer the onions and cream to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. For a more refined sauce, carefully strain through a sieve (optional).
- As the onions and heavy cream are blending, clean the pan and then add the remaining two tablespoons of butter along with the flour. Stir into a roux, then add the creamy onion mixture. Let the sauce simmer until the chicken is ready, about five more minutes. The chicken will be ready when the internal temperature reaches 170°F.
- Serve the chicken right away along with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli if you like. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and fresh parsley as desired. Generously pour the soubise over the top of the crispy chicken and potatoes.