Chicken Velouté – Romanian Ciulama de Pui

I had a hard time figuring out what to call this in English. Thankfully, after some Google searches, I discovered that the closest equivalent to Romanian ciulama in English is actually the French sauce called velouté. Though the name sounds fancy, this is really just simple comfort food. Plus, as our family found out this week, it’s amazing when you’re fighting a cold. Makes sense – it has lots of chicken broth, fresh garlic, and parsley.

Ingredients, serves 2

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs flour
  • 1-1.5 cups homemade chicken broth
  • 2 servings of cooked chicken (legs, breasts, wings, back, anything goes)
  • 2-3 cloves of freshly pressed garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few sprigs of parsley for each plate

Start with two small pots. Heat the homemade chicken broth in one pot while making a simple roux in the other. You’ll want to bring the broth up to a boil and then turn off the heat. Remember to prep your ingredients before you start making the roux because you’ll want to stir constantly once that starts.

Debone and shred your pieces of chicken into bite-sized or smaller pieces. I usually use the chicken that was boiled to make the broth. Boiled chicken isn’t usually particularly flavorful and so this is a delicious way to use it. If you don’t have that on hand because you’re using frozen broth that you made earlier, you can also use roasted chicken for this recipe. Set the shredded meat aside for later.

To make the roux, melt the butter in a pan until it starts to bubble. Sprinkle the flour onto the butter and then stir the mixture over medium-to-low heat for a few minutes to cook the flour. Slowly add hot chicken broth, one ladle at a time, while stirring or whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Stop adding liquid when the mixture appears to be a little thinner than you’d like but not fully liquid either. It will thicken a little bit more as it cooks. Taste it and add salt and pepper if needed – it depends on the seasoning level of your broth.

When the sauce looks ready, add the shredded chicken and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Remove it from the heat and add the freshly pressed garlic. Feel free to scrape out the garlic fibers that remain inside the press and also add those to the pot. Stir to combine and pour into two bowls. Tear a few sprigs of fresh parsley and place them on top of the chicken velouté or, if you’re Romanian, ciulama de pui.

Dig in with a big spoon and enjoy the garlicky goodness!

 

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