Chicken with French-herb butter sauce


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence, or French style 'fine herbs'
  • 500g chicken breast or tenderloin fillets, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil, for sauteing


This very simple 19th-century-inspired dish was served at a Wine Week event in Orange, New South Wales, courtesy of local foodie and caterer, Cath Thompson. The typical English-style melted butter sauce is infused with herbs de Provence, a French mixed herbs blend, as a nod to the trend of presenting formal banquet menus in French, assuming any guest of merit would have had appropriate tutelage.


Cut butter into several pieces and place in a heatproof jug. Stand the jug in a pot of boiling water, stirring gently until the butter melts. Do not ‘cook’ the butter or solids will separate. Add herbs and set aside for an hour or two, to allow flavours to infuse, then refrigerate until required.
Slice chicken into manageable pieces, approximately 2cm x 5cm. Pan-fry the chicken pieces in fresh butter or olive oil until golden. Add 1/3 cup water, cover and steam for few minutes to ensure it is cooked through.

Meanwhile, re-warm the butter sauce by standing in a pot of boiling water until melted.

Once cooked, transfer chicken to a serving plate, spooning the herbed butter over the pieces, and serve immediately.
COOK’S TIP: If serving as finger food, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers and serve with butter sauce in a shallow dipping dish.

This recipe appeared in the post History on the menu: colonial tastes in food and wine on November 27, 2014.

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