Classic Recipes from Jacques Pépin


I have added white wine and mushrooms to make the dish a bit more sophisticated, and used chicken thighs, which are the best part of the chicken (1 1/2 thighs per person should be a generous serving for a main course). A sprinkling of chopped tarragon at the end makes it more special, but it is optional. I am not sure my mother would approve of my changes, but this is easy, fast, and good. Most of the time, my mother served hers with rice pilaf.” —Jacques Pépin

Pepin cooking.jpg

Poulet à la Crème

Serves 4


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds), skin removed(about 2 1/2 pounds skinned)
  • 8 mushrooms (about 6 ounces), washed and sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped
  • fresh tarragon (optional)pepin poulet.jpg


  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the chicken thighs to the pan in one layer and brown over high
    heat for about 2 1/2 minutes on each side.
  2. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sprinkle on the flour. Turn the chicken pieces with tongs so the flour is dispersed evenly. Stir in the wine and water and mix well. Bring to a boil and add the salt and pepper. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook gently for 25 minutes.
  3. Add the cream, bring to a boil, and boil, uncovered, for about 1 minute.
  4. Serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon, if desired.
Pepin Black-Mother-Hen-Feature.jpg

Black Mother Hen painting by Jacques Pépin from The Artistry of Jacques Pépin  

Recipe from Heart & Soul in the Kitchen by Jacques Pépin. Copyright © 2015 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Jacques and his daughter prepared this dish in Heart & Soul Episode 102  with a short trailer here.

Jacques Pépin on chicken: ‘It has to be done right. Otherwise, there is no recovery.” To read more of his thoughts on chicken at The Splendid Table.


Life-Changing Lessons from Jacques Pépin from 25 top chefs.


Baked Alaska

Made of ice cream surrounded by pound cake, covered with a meringue, and baked briefly just before serving, Baked Alaska is always impressive, and the contrast of cold ice cream and hot meringue is sensational. This classic dessert can be assembled ahead and kept in the freezer until ready to bake.


Serves 8

1 pound cake (about 12 ounces)
2 tablespoons espresso or brewed coffee
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 quart vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
6 large egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling

        1. Cut the cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange some of the slices in the bottom of a stainless steel platter or other ovenproof platter.

        2. Mix the espresso or coffee and maple and pour half of it over the cake to moisten it.

        3. Spread the ice cream over the cake, wrapping the sides and top with the remaining cake slices so the ice cream is covered uniformly. Moisten with the remaining coffee mixture. Place in the freezer until you are ready to finish the recipe. (It can be frozen for at least 1 week.)

       4. When the cake is frozen, whip the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. Add the sugar in a steady stream until all is added, and beat at high speed for 30 seconds.

       5. Cover the frozen cake with half of the meringue, smoothing the meringue with a spatula and making sure the ice cream is completely covered. Spoon the remaining meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and decorate the top, and sides. Place back in the freezer until you are ready to bake.

      6. When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

      7. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the meringue is tinged with gold. Sprinkle the baked Alaska with confectioners’ sugar. Serve immediately, spooning or cutting the dessert into bowls.

From Essential Pépin, Watch Episode 109 including Baked Alaska,Orange Soufflé Crêpes and Apricot and Pistachio Soufflé.Classic Conclusions

Pepin-Essential-Cover300.jpgCopyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved

The new documentary, Jacques Pépin: The Art of Craftproduced and directed by Peter L. Stein and narrated by Stanley Tucci, premieres nationally Friday, May 26 on PBS as part of the 31st season of American Masters (check local PBS station listings for repeat showings). It is also available on-demand and online at American Masters’ Chef’s Flight along with other shows in the series about Alice Waters, James Beard and Julia Child. Read more about it on EatDrinkFilms here.

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