A meal that’s quick enough for a weeknight but also special enough for entertaining – that’s this Creamy Peppercorn Chicken which has fast become a favourite in our household.
It’s safe to say I like delicious creamy chicken recipes – from this one pan chicken pesto pasta bake to my chicken penne pasta with sundried tomatoes. And who could pass up a mini chicken pot pie?
There is so much to love about this recipe.
- Succulent chicken breast
- Rich, creamy sauce
- Flavour from both whole and cracked peppercorns
- Golden sauteed mushrooms
- And did I mention all made in one pan?
- Cream and chicken stock (broth): are the base of the creamy sauce
- Chicken breasts: I use large chicken breasts butterflied to give two smaller ones. See more about that below
- Mushrooms: They work perfectly with chicken, creamy sauces and pepper so they’re a no brainer here but if you don’t like mushrooms, just leave them out.
- Onion & garlic: Add flavour to the sauce.
- Pepper: I use a combination of whole peppercorns and cracked. Since this is cooked quickly, the whole peppercorns impart flavour without a lot of heat. You can choose to eat them whole or push them aside, if there are too many. The cracked pepper adds most of the heat to this sauce. I find ½ teaspoon adds the right combination of subtle heat and flavour but add more or less to your taste.
- You’ll start by butterflying the chicken breast. This method makes all the chicken breasts the same thickness and helps them to cook quicker.
- You can be butterflying the chicken while the mushrooms are being sauteed. Cooking them on their own first allows any excess liquid to evaporate disappears and get them golden and flavourful.
- Now season the chicken with salt and cook that for 3-4 minutes on each side until it’s starting to get golden.
- Now it’s time to make the creamy peppercorn sauce. Sautee onions and garlic, then add the pepper and deglaze with stock getting all the good bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Add cream and bring it to a simmer, followed shortly after by the mushrooms and chicken and any juices they’ve released – that’s all good flavour.
- Bring it back to a simmer, then serve it up.
The versatile creamy peppercorn sauce
I want to bathe just about everything I eat in this peppercorn sauce right now. Because of the minimal ingredients, it works on everything from prawns to fish to steaks.
For fish and prawns you can either leave the chicken stock in or swap it for vegetable stock. To douse steaks, use beef stock in the sauce.
How to know cook perfect chicken breast
Chicken breast has a bad reputation for being dry but this is most often because it’s overcooked and that is often due to people being concerned about serving uncooked chicken. It’s flavourful when done right and is a lighter option than thighs so use these tips to get it perfect.
- Even thickness: This is something I use every time I cook chicken breast. Where the chicken breast is really thick, give it gentle bash with a meat tenderiser, under a sheet of plastic wrap until the thickness is pretty even all the way across – generally to about 1cm is perfect.
- Timing is dependent on how thick the chicken breasts are and your stove top but for a piece of chicken about 1cm thick, 3-4 minutes on each side should be sufficient.
- Temperature-wise, you want to get the thickest part to 75C / 165F and a meat thermometer comes in really handy.
- Colour: If you are doing it by eye, test the thickest piece but just cutting it open (serve that one to yourself) and it should have clear juices (not pink) and you should be able to see the fibres of the meat that you can’t see when it’s raw.
If you stick to these rules, you’ll have juicy chicken breast every single time.
- Easy Cheesy Potato Bake
- Warm Potato Asparagus Salad
- Buttery Garlic Potatoes with Crispy Prosciutto
- Perfect Roast Potatoes
- Sizzler Cheese Toast (so great for soaking up the sauce – yum!)
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More quick or creamy chicken recipes
- Creamy Lemon Thyme Chicken
- Lime Chili Coconut Chicken
- Sticky Harissa Chicken
- Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta
- Chicken Lasagna with Spinach and Mushrooms
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