Main course

Poulet sauté Alice

This dish was introduced to me by Stephane Nguyen of the French Cooking Academy. In his own video blog, he stated that the recipe was written down by none other than Auguste Escoffier, with the identity of ‘Alice’ unknown. The dish does not appear in Escoffier’s Le Guide Culinaire, nor in Larousse, so the trail goes cold for now.

Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935)

You can watch Stephane make poulet sauté Alice in the video below. When we made it, we added an oven step to ensure that the chicken was cooked through. Stephane suggests this is served with tagliatelle or rice. We had roasted, halved sprouts with ours.

Poulet sauté Alice from the French Cooking Academy

Poulet sauté Alice

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By Auguste Escoffier Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 30 mins


  • For the chicken:
  • 1 chicken, jointed
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 150g button mushrooms, halved
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 250ml chicken stock reduced to 100ml
  • 3 tbsp cognac
  • 100ml double cream
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve:
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley or tarragon, chopped


To cook the chicken:


Heat an oven to 150˚C.


Heat the butter and oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven. Salt the chicken pieces and place them skin side down in the pan. Fry gently for 10 mins until coloured, turn and fry the other side for another 10 mins. Baste the chicken pieces with the pan juices and put the whole pan in the oven while you make the sauce (transfer it to another vessel if you can't fit an entire sauté pan in your oven). Cook about 20 mins while you work on the rest …

For the sauce:


Take a spoon or so of juice from the chicken pan and heat in a small sauté pan on medium. Add the mushrooms, season them, and cook until much of their liquid is simmered away. Add the shallot and colour a little.


Add the wine and cognac to deglaze the pan and flambé (ignite it). Reduce by half.


Add the reduced stock and reduce again by half. Check seasoning.


Stir in the cream and bubble for a couple of minutes.

To finish:


Pour the remaining fat off the chicken and whisk into the sauce. Put the chicken pan on a medium heat. Pour over the sauce and heat through for about 5 mins.


Serve the chicken four plates and pour the sauce around. Garnish with a little chopped herbs.

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  • Reply
    17/01/2022 at 10:54 am

    The recipe indeed was written down by Escoffier and is featured in his “Ma Cuisine” cookbook.

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      17/01/2022 at 10:59 am

      Yep. We know that – Stephane Nguyen confirmed for us. The article, however, refers to Le Guide.

  • Reply
    Mme P Evans
    08/02/2022 at 10:19 am

    In the recipe you ask us to flambé the wine and cognac, but this is not shown in the video. Should I flambé or not?

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      08/02/2022 at 10:26 am

      Technically, it does not matter a ton. Flambé is really there to ensure that all the alcohol is burnt off, but a good sizzle will do the same job. Flambé is just that bit quicker.

      • Reply
        Mme P Evans
        11/02/2022 at 4:25 pm

        Oh I’ve only just seen your reply, thank you so much for taking the time to guide me, and for so generously sharing your knowledge and expertise. I’m going to make this tomorrow evening, so really looking forward to it! All the best to you.

        • Reply
          Nigel Eastmond
          11/02/2022 at 5:40 pm

          Bon appetit, Mme Evans. Enchante.

          • Mme P Evans
            13/02/2022 at 10:47 am

            Reports of the dish – “A triumph!” “Superbe!” I’ll definitely make this over and over again. Thank you again for adding this recipe to your site, and for your assistance.

  • Reply
    Frank Canonica
    16/07/2022 at 8:50 pm

    I too am a later in life gourmand and home chef. I traded it as an art form in some ways with music. It is immensely satisfying to research and cook wonderful dishes. Love your article. I went back to my Escoffier recipes and indeed this simple yet enchanting dish was there. Somewhere though there is a origin story that is lost. Cheers

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      18/07/2022 at 2:11 pm

      It’s a really nice dish. Yes.

  • Reply
    26/12/2022 at 7:41 pm

    I think the oven temperature is too high. Put the chicken in a 150 Celsius oven, with no timing indicated? You would overcook the chicken, especially the breast. Seems like you want the oven warm to not let the chicken go cold — that is not 150 Celsius. Maybe 60?

    • Reply
      Nigel Eastmond
      26/12/2022 at 11:14 pm

      To make this dish, you need to understand the basics of a fricasse. This is to gild in a pan and finish at 150degC in an oven while other stuff is executed. The oven temperature is correct, and the time needed in the oven is the time needed to make the sauce, which is about 20 mins.

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