Poularde à la Vapeur

Steamed Fattened Chicken

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


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Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

In Lucien Tendret’s original 1892 recipe for this dish, a stuffing is prepared with cubed truffles and the chicken’s liver. In the following modification, truffle slices are slipped under the chicken’s skin and added to the steaming liquid. French chefs are predisposed to using black truffles, but the method is at least equally exciting with fresh white truffles. The method can be adapted and the truffles replaced with herbs such as tarragon (again, slipped under the skin) or with chopped wild mushrooms cooked down to a duxelles and placed under the skin.

The original recipe finishes the steaming liquid like a fricassée with roux, cream, and egg yolks, but in this modification, the chicken is served surrounded with the well-truffled steaming bouillon.


fresh black or white truffles 2, as large as you can afford
chickens, 2½ to 3 lb (1.25 to 1.75 kg) each 4 4
excellent brown chicken stock 1 qt 1 L


  1. Peel the truffles; chop and save the peelings. Slice the truffles about 1/16 inch (1.5 millimeters) thick with a Japanese mandoline.
  2. Slip three-quarters of the truffle slices under the skin of the thighs and breasts of the chickens.
  3. Truss the chickens, cover well with plastic wrap, and store overnight in the refrigerator (to permeate the meat with the truffle flavor).
  4. Pour the chicken stock, the remaining truffle slices, and the peelings into the bottom of a steamer and bring to a simmer. Unwrap the chickens and arrange them in the basket of the steamer. Cover with a sheet of crumpled aluminum foil (this makes a tighter seal) and the lid. It is imperative that the lid fit tightly. (The original recipe sealed the lid on with a luting paste of flour and water.)
  5. Steam the chickens over low to medium heat for 1½ hours. If any steam starts to escape from under the lid, turn down the heat. Do not remove the lid during the cooking except to check that the liquid isn’t running dry and burning. If it is, add more stock or water.
  6. Carve the chickens and serve in deep plates or wide soup bowls surrounded with the steaming liquid, with soup spoons.