Who says chicken can’t be a special occasion protein?

Save this recipe when you have something special to celebrate, and want a cozy, comforting dish that can be made ahead and heated up right before guests arrive. The crispy garlic and sage is what really makes this dish special, creating both a flavorful oil to brown the chicken in, and a crunchy garnish that contrasts with the dish so beautifully.

Substitute frozen artichoke hearts for mushrooms if you prefer, and feel free to add a handful of frozen peas along with the creme fraiche for a pop of color.

Recipe freezes great, just make sure to leave out the creme fraiche before freezing and add it in when you heat the dish up.

If you don’t have a large dutch oven, you can also bake everything in your largest oven proof casserole dish, covered tightly with foil.

Serve over rice, creamy polenta or (my family’s favorite) buttered noodles with lemon wedges on the side.

Serves 4-6


½ cup high heat neutral cooking oil such as canola or vegetable oil

10 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin (I like to use a mandoline but you can also do by hand with those knife skills!)

¾ oz or half a bunch of fresh sage, leaves taken off stems

1 whole Rocky or Rosie Chicken, cut into 8 pieces (I like to cut the breasts in half to to make 10 pieces of chicken but this is optional)

2 tsp fine sea salt, divided

Pepper, to taste

Pinch cayenne (optional)

5 Tb AP flour, divided

5 oz chopped or small diced pancetta (can sub bacon)

4 large or 1 lb shallots, thinly sliced

1 lb whole cremini mushrooms, destemmed and quartered

2 large or 1.5 lbs carrots, peeled, halved down the center and then sliced

1 Tb tomato paste

⅓ cup white wine

4 cups chicken stock

1 container Creme Fraiche (this is optional, and you can also just use half the container if you would prefer. My family loves the creamy texture and flavor when I use the entire container).


Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a large (at least 9qt) Dutch oven, place the oil and the thinly sliced garlic in the pot and set over medium high heat. Starting the garlic in an unheated pot with unheated oil is the secret to garlic chips. While you wait for the garlic to begin sizzling, place three layers of paper towels on a dinner plate. Once the garlic begins to sizzle, begin stirring the garlic constantly to ensure even cooking and also so you do not risk burning it. Once the garlic turns a light gold brown (they will look like toasted almonds), immediately remove the garlic from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on the paper towel lined plate. Now add the sage to the hot oil and fry, stirring constantly, until crispy (they will begin to darken slightly). Remove with a slotted spoon and place next to the garlic on the paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle the garlic and sage evenly with a pinch of salt and set aside.

Take the pot off the heat while you do the next step.

On a sheet pan, sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with 1 tsp fine salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle the chicken pieces evenly with 2 tb of the flour, making sure all pieces are evenly coated as much as possible.

Set the pot back over medium high heat and brown the chicken pieces in batches, trying not to overcrowd the pot, until the chicken pieces are golden brown on all sides. You are not cooking the chicken through here, only browning it. Set the chicken back on the sheet pan after it is done browning and set aside while you do the next step.

Place the chopped pancetta into the pan, and fry until golden brown and crispy, adjusting the heat if necessary so the pancetta does not burn. Once the pancetta is crispy, add the shallots, mushrooms and carrots and continue to saute everything together until vegetables begin to soften and caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add in the tomato paste, and saute with the vegetables until they are evenly coated, and tomato paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the remaining 3 tb flour and continue to saute, making sure vegetables are evenly coated with the flour. Add in the white wine and stir for just a moment to let the wine reduce, and then slowly add in your chicken stock stirring constantly so you do not create lumps. When the stock is totally incorporated and sauce is smooth, add back your chicken pieces and any accumulated juices on the sheet pan.

Place the lid on the dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour. Remove pot from oven and stir well. Remove about 2 cups of the sauce into a large bowl, and add the container of creme fraiche to the hot sauce, whisking well. This tempers the creme fraiche so it does not curdle. Add this mixture back to the pot and mix well. At this point you may leave the chicken pieces as is, or you can take the meat out, remove skin and bones and shred the meat.

Serve the stew over rice, creamy polenta or buttered noodles, garnishing with the crispy garlic and sage.