Chicken a la crema is one of my favorite recipes and one of the greatest chicken recipes of all time. It's simple to make, incredibly comforting, and gorgeous to look at. Sauteed mushrooms and onions are well browed to add extra flavor and give the sauce a beautifully rich color. Spoon this into a bowl alongside rice and top with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkle of cilantro, or wrap it up in a fresh, warm tortilla and dunk it in the sauce--no matter how you serve it, this dish should be on every chicken lover's bucket list.

Recipe Summary

prep:
25 mins
cook:
2 hrs 15 mins
total:
2 hrs 40 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Brown chicken in olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until nice and dark on both sides and fat has rendered, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a bowl.

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  • Reduce heat to medium and add onion, mushrooms, and salt to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add chili powder, cayenne, black pepper, cumin, dried oregano, garlic, and poblano peppers. Cook and stir until peppers begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

  • Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and bay leaf; stir and increase heat to high. Stir in 1 cup creme fraiche and fresh oregano and bring to a simmer. Add chicken and any accumulated juices to the pot, nestling them into the broth so they are covered. Reduce heat to low or medium-low to maintain a gentle, steady simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

  • Use tongs to carefully transfer chicken to a bowl and let cool enough to handle. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook until braising liquids have reduced by about half, 15 to 20 minutes, skimming off fat from the surface as it cooks.

  • Meanwhile, remove and discard skin and bones from chicken (or save to make stock). Break up the meat into large or small pieces and save any edible drippings.

  • Reduce heat to low and add chicken meat and drippings to the sauce. Simmer until chicken has absorbed the flavor from the sauce, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in chopped cilantro and remaining creme fraiche. Taste to adjust salt and seasonings.

Chef's Notes:

Poblano peppers are like regular green peppers, except thinner, more flavorful, and with a little bit of heat. If you can find them, use them, but if not, any pepper will do.

Diced fresh tomato can be used in place of canned, and you can substitute 2 teaspoons table salt for 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Feel free to use any herbs you like.

Sour cream can be used in place of creme fraiche, but it's more acidic, will make the sauce tangier, and may curdle.

You can serve the chicken on the bone if you'd like.

Nutrition Facts

734 calories; protein 51.5g; carbohydrates 12.2g; fat 53.7g; cholesterol 231mg; sodium 2026.6mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (22)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
03/24/2020
They didn't have chicken at the grocery store this week (result of COVID-19 panic shopping, I guess), so I used pork shoulder instead. I braised the pork shoulder in the cooking liquid for 3 hours, then added the cream and poblano peppers during the final 20-30 min of the cook (so that the peppers wouldn't be boiled into oblivion). I can't really speak to the chicken version of this recipe, but it worked really, really well with the pork shoulder; some of the best pork I've ever had! Flavors are spectacular, and it went really well with the Spanish rice I made. I imagine it would be great on pasta or mashed potatoes, too. Read More
(8)
28 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 27
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
03/24/2020
They didn't have chicken at the grocery store this week (result of COVID-19 panic shopping, I guess), so I used pork shoulder instead. I braised the pork shoulder in the cooking liquid for 3 hours, then added the cream and poblano peppers during the final 20-30 min of the cook (so that the peppers wouldn't be boiled into oblivion). I can't really speak to the chicken version of this recipe, but it worked really, really well with the pork shoulder; some of the best pork I've ever had! Flavors are spectacular, and it went really well with the Spanish rice I made. I imagine it would be great on pasta or mashed potatoes, too. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
03/23/2020
Today was the perfect day for this " feel good" dish! We are Hispanic and enjoy many dishes similar to this but this one has nearly tied with our family's ultimate favorite, Carne Guisada! This has a wonderful, deep, not too rich flavor that was transformed into something amazingly rich but bright when we added the sour cream to our servings! (we usually have sour cream so we went with that) This is SO full of flavor! The poblano peppers really do add something special... well worth buying an ingredient you may not usually think of. Followed recipe as written but eyeballed measurements since it was familiar territory, so to speak. SO DELICIOUS served with my homemade Mexican Rice and Fresh Flour Tortillas... Heavenly! Will DEFINITELY be making this again for my family and it is "special" enough for serving guests as well. We LOVED it!!! Thank You So Much, Chef John, your recipes have NEVER let me or my family down!! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
03/22/2020
I loved this dish and so did my family! I will add it to my repertoire of recipes. The broth is delicious. The poblano peppers give it such a great flavor. Read More
(2)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/16/2020
I cut the amount of salt in half and used sour cream instead of creme fraiche. This recipe is very good! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
03/31/2020
Really good. Very rich probably could use less creama Read More
Rating: 5 stars
04/05/2020
I will be definitely making this again. it was my first time quartering a whole chicken. A little bit time consuming due to lack of experience but flavors are so worth it. Thank you chef John! Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
06/14/2020
This dish was more work than I usually like to put into a meal, so I asked my husband and daughter to be honest with me and tell me if it's good enough to make again. They answered with a resounding yes! It was absolutely delicious. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
01/22/2021
Absolutely amazing! My poblanos were HUGE so I only used 2, and used sour cream and crema mixed since that’s what I could find but this recipe was WONDERFUL! Add about 30 mins to “prep” time since there is a lot of chopping etc, but it is definitely worth the wait. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
02/19/2021
Absolutely fantastic! I didn't change anything but to cut the recipe in half using four thighs. I even made the crema, which we have enjoyed on other things. Will make this again because it was so yummy and easy to throw together! Read More
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