Chicken Breast in Port Cream Sauce

This is my adaptation of french country cooking inspired by my recent reading of My Life in France by Julia Child.


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp shallot, minced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • salt and white pepper

For the sauce

  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup port or madeira wine
  • 1 cup cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Rub the chicken breasts with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in an oven proof pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the shallots, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt and saute to soften (about 3-4 minutes).
  5. Add the chicken breasts and roll them around in the butter/mushroom/shallot sauce to fully coat them
  6. Transfer pan to the oven and bake 6-8 minutes. The chicken breasts should be “springy” to the touch when done.
  7. Remove the chicken breasts (leaving the mushrooms, shallots, and liquid) to a platter, cover, and set aside.
  8. Over high heat, add the beef broth and wine and reduce by half.
  9. Add cream and reduce the liquid by half again. The sauce should thicken slightly. Add lemon juice and salt and white pepper to taste.
  10. Pour the sauce over the chicken breasts and serve.

How Not to Screw It Up

  1. It is wise to add the salt to the mushroom/shallot saute. The salt help to extract moisture from the mushrooms and impart their flavor into the dish. If you are concerned about your salt intake, you can eliminate the salt from the raw chicken breast to start. If salt is not a health problem for you, use the salt where directed. Don’t worry, it does not create a dish that is “too salty” to the taste. Trust me.
  2. It is imperative that you use an oven proof pan in step 3. You are basically creating the dish one step at a time in this pan and in step 6 it all gets put into the oven. Oven proof means that the handle of the pan can take heat in excess of 400 degrees (i.e. NOT plastic. Metal handles are good).
  3. In step 6, you know the chicken breasts are cooked enough when you can touch the outside and the meat “springs back” to the touch. If they are soft and the meat does not spring back, cook a few minutes more.
  4. This dish is wonderful when served in a shallow bowl and a side of asparagus (in the bowl). The asparagus makes a great pairing with the sauce.