Ludo Lefebvre’s Belgian Twist on a Classic French Dish
In the premiere episode of season seven of Ludo à la Maison, Chef Ludo Lefebvre makes a rich and flavorful French classic: poulet à la crème. But he switches up one of the main ingredients, white wine, opting for Belgian beer instead.
This season, the premise of Lefebvre’s show is to integrate aspects of other cuisines into his cooking—namely, countries that are part of Lefebvre’s own DNA. The chef took a 23andMe test (the company is sponsoring his show) to determine various aspects of his heritage, and he found that, in addition to being French, he’s Belgian, British, Italian, and German. While traditional chicken a la crème is made by cooking chicken legs with white wine, crème fraîche, mushrooms, and onions, in this episode, Lefebvre combines French techniques and Belgian flavors by deglazing the pot with beer.
Before getting to the beer, Lefebvre demonstrates a few helpful techniques to keep in mind when making this dish:
When placing the seasoned chicken legs into the pot of melted butter, make sure to swirl the meat around so that it’s fully coated. “Move your legs in the butter,” Lefebvre says, so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot while cooking.
Once the butter starts to become yellowish-brown, take the pot by its sides and move it around, swishing the butter to ensure that the chicken doesn’t burn.
Upon adding flour to thicken the sauce, make sure to mix until the flour dissolves and the sauce is sticky and gluey.
And remember, as Lefebvre says, “French cooking is really about generosity, so [add] a little more crème fraîche.”