Chicken Bouillabaisse is a twist on the classic seafood stew that’s a bit more budget-friendly. It’s so lush and luxurious, it’s elegant enough to serve to guests!
So, it’s not cooling off here as quickly as I’d like. It’s November and the temperature is still in the high 80’s.
It’s rather strange trying to find “light” food this time of year when you’re craving something hearty and comforting and you’d rather be snuggling into fleece after a long day instead of shorts.
I am passionate about classic French-inspired chicken dishes and Chicken Bouillabaisse is the perfect “light” comfort food.
If you’ve never made Chicken Bouillabaisse (Bouillabaisse de Poulet) before, you’re going to wonder why you haven’t!
No doubt you’ve heard of the seafood version of bouillabaisse which is Marseille’s signature dish. The seafood version is typically prepared for a large number of people with a minimum of three different types of seafood. Because of the seafood, it can be pricey. The flavorings of the classic seafood version work well with budget-friendly chicken in this Chicken Bouillabaisse and it’s less fussy to prepare.
This version is inspired by Julia Child’s recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume #2. Oh, Julia, where would we all be without you?
I had the amazing opportunity to meet Julia Child twice and I cherish those memories. Both were at book signings. The first time, I was so starstruck at her presence I couldn’t even speak. The second time, I mustered up the courage to tell her I made her puff pastry from The Way to Cook—step by laborious step. However, it was SOME beautiful puff pastry!
Miss you, Julia, but your culinary influence lives on in all of us.
Chicken Bouillabaisse is generally made with a whole chicken cut into pieces or a combination of pieces such as the thigh, drumstick or breast. Because it’s what I had in the freezer, I used two large “split” chicken breasts (or chicken breasts that are still on the bone with the skin). After cooking the breasts thoroughly in the broth, I then pulled the meat in large pieces from the bone and placed it back in the rich, sexy broth. (It’s much easier to eat that way.)
A bouillabaisse is always served with a rouille, which translates to “rust” because of the color. It’s a thick, garlicky sauce that often includes breadcrumbs and some type of chili pepper. However, there does not seem to be a definitive recipe from what I’ve been able to find. The one included here is from Saveur.com which is easy and tasty.
Throw in some buttery Yukon Gold potatoes toward the end. Crusty bread to soak up the rich, luxurious broth is also a must!
Make this. Soon.
Your chicken soup life will never be the same again!
For more French-inspired chicken recipes, be sure to try my:
- Chicken Scallopine with Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille
- Sheet Pan Roast Chicken with Potatoes, Green Beans, Olives and Lemon
- Chicken Pinot Noir with Wild Mushrooms and Fresh Basil
- Herb and Garlic Roasted Chicken with Dijon Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (or as needed)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large split chicken breasts (on the bone, with the skin)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 1 small fennel bulb, finely chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped --OR-- 1 can (15-ounce) petite diced tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 (2-inch) piece orange peel
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 8 baby Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons hot cooking liquid from pot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
- Cayenne pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- BOUILLABAISSE: Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken generously with salt and black pepper. Place in the hot oil, reduce heat to medium and brown well on the skin side, approximately 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onion, celery and fennel to the oil (adding more if needed) and cook 8-10 minutes or until very soft. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook 2 minutes.
- Add the wine, chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme, saffron, orange peel and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
- Place the chicken back in the broth. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked through to at least 165 degrees. (Chicken should be able to be removed easily from bone.)
- Add the potatoes and cook gently 10 more minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- With a fork, remove skin and shred chicken into large chunks. Place back in broth. Add chopped fresh parsley.
- ROUILLE: Place saffron threads in a small bowl. Remove 2 tablespoons of the hot cooking liquid and allow saffron to soften a bit. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- TO SERVE: Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread, topped with a dollop of the rouille.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1063 Total Fat 56g Saturated Fat 9g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 45g Cholesterol 127mg Sodium 2069mg Carbohydrates 82g Fiber 11g Sugar 12g Protein 50g