Chicken, speculoos, crème fraiche, butter, salt, and pepper. That’s the entire ingredients list for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe. And it’s all you need to make a spectacular, creamy, spicy dish that’s sure to be a hit.
Speculoos are spicy, sweet, crispy cookies that are popular in France but available elsewhere. I found them in the international section of the grocery store. The ones I bought were LU Cinnamon Sugar Spice Biscuits. They are also easy to make if you can’t find them in the store, although Dorie notes that she prefers the store-bought ones for this recipe.
I began by stirring crushed speculoos into homemade crème fraiche and seasoning with salt and pepper. Although the cookies are sweet, you don’t use a lot, and the tanginess of the crème fraiche combined with the salt and pepper makes the mixture more savory than sweet.
Next, I sliced chicken breasts into strips and sautéed them in butter until well-colored and almost cooked through. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper, stirred in the crème fraiche mixture, and cooked everything for a minute or two until the crème fraiche was warmed and the chicken cooked through.
I served the chicken with homemade bread and a salad for a quick and easy weeknight supper. As I was putting the dish together, I remember how my dad used to tease my grandmother for putting a dash of paprika on everything before it went on the table. What Nanny Faye understood and Dad didn’t was that we eat with our eyes before we eat with our mouth.
I must have inherited some of Nan’s genes, as I was worried that the dish would look to blah on the plate. In fact, I was originally going to serve it with creamy rice, but I realized it would be a nearly monochromatic meal. So I dressed the dish up with a few speculoo crumbs and by serving it on a colorful plate.
If the color was less than impressive, the dish itself was delicious. The slightly sweet, spicy tang of the crème fraiche and speculoos paired so well with the chicken. The cinnamon in the speculoos wasn’t at all cloying or overpowering — it reminded me of savory Indian or Middle Eastern dishes that I’ve had with cinnamon.
Perhaps because of the association with Indian food, I reheated the leftovers and served them over couscous the next day. It was as good reheated as it had been the first day, and it married perfectly with the couscous.
This odd-sounding combination of ingredients made for one of my favorite dishes so far from Around My French Table. And it’s definitely one that I’ll make again.