Ok, let’s get this out of the way first. Sauce Soubise (pronounced soo-beez) is a variation of béchamel sauce, one of the five mother sauces of French classical cuisine. Originally soubise was made of béchamel, onion puree and cream. It is named after Charles de Rohan, Prince de Soubise (a town in France), who was a Marshal of France (1715-1787). Through the years the ingredients have changed somewhat and today current chefs sometimes use onion, butter and beef broth. I even saw a soubise recipe that included Gruyere and parmesan cheese. One thing all these recipes have in common, however, is cooked pureed onions. Are you with me on this?
If you have been following along with me, you know I am trying to use up everything in my freezer, which included the chicken thighs and legs for this dish. I boned the thighs, but left on the skin, so they would have that beautiful bronzed color that is so photogenic. I also got to use up a bag of little yellow potatoes, a big onion and a head of garlic. I am so happy!
I browned the legs and thighs skin-side-down in some butter and olive oil, then deglazed the pan with chicken broth and white wine. I put the halved potatoes, peeled garlic cloves, onion wedges and chicken in my baking dish, then added some chopped herbs and the broth/wine liquid. It went in the oven for about an hour and a half, until the potatoes were done. It smelled so delicious.
These are the little Baby Gold Potatoes I used. Just wash and cut in half. No peeling. They have such a nice tight structure and lovely yellow color.
After baking, the chicken had such a mouthwatering caramelized brown color. The skin was crispy, and the braising liquid was lush.
The first night I had a simple dish of the chicken, potato, onion and garlic with some of the braising liquid. After I took this photo, I smashed up the potato a little and added a nugget of butter and some salt and pepper. So fine.
To make the Sauce Soubise, I used my fine mesh sieve, called a chinois. I made the soubise the next day, after everything had chilled overnight. First I removed the fat from the top of the gelatinized cooking liquid. I heated it up enough to melt it and put it through the chinois to remove all particles, then back into the sauté pan. Next I put the cooked onions in my mini processor and whizzed until mostly smooth, then into the chinois, where I pressed and scraped them through with a big metal spoon. The puree collected on the outside and I scraped it into the liquid. I heated this mixture on low heat to simmering, removed it from the heat, then added a tablespoon of butter and slowly incorporated it with the back of a big spoon. Then a second pat of butter was added. This sauce is amazing and intense. It stops you in your tracks. The combination of the onions, wine and butter is just killer.
For the rest of the dish, I smashed up three potato halves and heated them in the microwave. Next a thigh was heated and brushed with a little melted butter for that photogenic sheen. The potatoes went on the plate, topped with the thigh. The soubise is drizzled around and the thigh is garnished with Italian parsley, red onion slices and lemon zest, which was tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Voila!
Baked Chicken with Sauce Soubise
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salted butter
4 chicken thighs, with skin, bone removed
4 chicken legs, with skin
2 pounds Baby Gold Potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 large onion, cut into12 wedges
1 head garlic, separated and peeled
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth, low sodium
1 cup white wine, I used sauvignon blanc
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
Kosher salt and black pepper
Garnish: Italian parsley leaves, red onion slices, lemon zest
Sauce Soubise (recipe below)
13×9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish
Fine mesh sieve (chinois)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place rack in middle of oven. Salt and pepper top and bottom of chicken thighs and legs.
2. In a large frying pan, melt butter in olive oil over medium heat. When butter is sizzling, add chicken thighs skin-side down, and chicken legs. Sauté thighs until skin is golden brown. Do not brown bottom side. Remove to large flat bowl. Continue cooking legs until brown on all sides. Remove to bowl.
3. Turn off heat under pan and add chicken broth and wine. Scrape up brown bits on bottom of pan to incorporate into broth.
4. In a 13×9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, evenly distribute potato halves, onion wedges and peeled garlic cloves. Turn potatoes cut side up.
5. Fold ends of thighs under into neat bundle and place with legs on top of potato/onion mixture. Pour any juices left in bowl into chicken broth.
6. Pour chicken broth mixture over potatoes and chicken pieces. Sprinkle with thyme, rosemary and sage. Dust with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken pieces down into potatoes about half way, keeping skin clear. Do not submerge into broth.
7. Place baking dish in center of 350F oven and bake for ½ hour. Remove from oven and baste chicken and vegs with broth. Return to oven.
8. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for additional 45-60 minutes, or until chicken is browned and potatoes can be pierced with a fork.
9. For simple Sunday Dinner, serve chicken and veggies in a flat soup bowl with braising liquid. Adjust seasoning. Garnish with chopped parsley, red onion slices and lemon zest, if desired.
(Onion White Wine Butter Sauce)
1 cup chicken braising liquid
½ cup cooked onion wedges
2 tablespoons salted butter, cold, cut in tablespoon slices
1. Remove chicken and veggies from braising liquid and set aside. Strain braising liquid through fine mesh sieve (chinois) into flat sauté pan. Heat over medium low heat. Rinse chinois.
2. Place cooked onions in food processor and whiz until mostly smooth (I used my mini chopper). Scoop processed onion into chinois and place over a medium bowl. Force onions through sieve with a large metal spoon, scraping thoroughly against sides of sieve. Scrape onion puree from outside of sieve into bowl. Discard what is left in chinois.
3. Add onion puree to simmering braising liquid and stir to incorporate. Heat until just starting to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until somewhat reduced, about 1 minute.
4. Remove pan from heat and add 1 tablespoon cold butter. Stir slowly with back of large spoon until incorporated. Add second butter slice and incorporate. Serve.
Note: If more braising liquid is used, increase onion wedges and butter in proportion.
Note: Sauce may be held in bain marie or reheated over lowest possible heat immediately before service. Do not boil. Do not microwave.