Tender chicken thighs, mushrooms, tomatoes, and french herbs in a rich brown sauce, slow cooker chicken chasseur is an unbelievably rich and savory crock pot meal. Delicious over noodles or mashed potatoes, this french classic is sure to quickly become a favorite.
Making chicken chasseur in the crock pot is perhaps my favorite way to prepare it. After a quick sear of the chicken thighs in a skillet to brown the outside and seal in the juices, a brown sauce is made from the pan drippings and then everything goes into the slow cooker for a hours to cook down. The chicken thighs become fall apart tender and all the veggies and liquids intertwine creating the most wonderful sauce.
During my time at culinary school chicken chasseur is one of the first dishes that I felt "wow, this is true cooking." If I remember correctly it was on a day that we were practicing one of 5 French Mother sauces, which are Béchamel, Velouté, Sauce Espagnole, Sauce Tomat, and Hollandaise Sauce. Chasseur is a derivative of Espagnole which is a basic brown sauce.
I remember going home and wanting to immediately remake french chicken chasseur for my family. It was such a special dish that I have continued to make to this day.
So, what is chicken chasseur?
Chicken Chasseur translates to "hunter's stew." Chasseur is french for "hunter" or more specifically a hunting soldier. It was often made with wild game or rabbit, this dish would be made when the hunters came back from hunting. They would make it with fresh herbs and mushrooms. When made with chicken, this french dish is referred to as Poulet Chasseur.
Chicken chasseur is similar to the italian chicken cacciatore, although cacciatore generally has bell peppers.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: Truly my favorite protein, boneless skinless chicken thighs are so versatile. Chicken breasts can be used, but chicken thighs are much juicier and have more flavor.
- Cremini mushrooms: A classic addition to chicken chasseur, or hunter's stew, which in its earliest renderings was a dish that the cook found ingredients for while hunting or foraging. Cremini mushrooms are easily accessible at the grocery store, but feel free to use more exotic mushroom varieties or even mushrooms you forage yourself.
- Tomato paste: Sometimes called tomato puree, this deepens the flavor of the stew and adds a rich taste.
- Bay leaves: Bay leaves infuse a subtle woodsy flavor to whatever they are added to. Perfect for a hearty hunter's stew! Just be sure to remove them before serving the dish.
- Shallots: Shallots are used often in french cooking. They add a mellower onion flavor. Yellow onion can be used for a substitute in this dish.
- Dry white wine: Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay are all good options.
- Herbes de provence: Herbes de provence is a french herb blend consisting of fennel, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, and thyme, among other things. Here's a list of herbes de provence substitutes, if needed.
- Beef bouillon paste: This is a tip I learned from culinary school, bouillon paste goes in just about every soup, stew, and sauce. It adds a concentrated flavor that is hard to come by otherwise. Although this is a chicken dish, the beef paste really adds richness and heartiness. My favorite brand is Better than Bouillon.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add extra herbs. Parsley and tarragon are traditional garnishes for chasseur and they are a tasty and colorful finishing touch.
- Bacon. Some chasseur recipes all for a bit of bacon. This adds a nice saltiness to the dish.
- Swap out white wine for red wine. While white wine is traditional, red would be equally amazing and deepen the color of the sauce in such a lovely way.
- Make it dairy free. Easily make this chicken chasseur dairy free by swapping out the butter for olive oil.
How to make chicken chasseur in the slow cooker
Step 1. Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet or frying pan on the stove.Season chicken with salt and pepper and then coat in flour. Working in stages if necessary, brown the chicken, about 3-4 minutes per side. Place browned chicken on the plate to the side.
Step 2. To the skillet, add tomato paste.
Step 3. Allow to carmelize for 1-2 minutes.
Step 4. Add chicken stock and beef bouillon paste and whisk until a rich sauce has formed.
Step 5. Place seared boneless chicken thighs into the crock pot, along with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, minced shallot, garlic, bay leaves, and dried herbs. Pour over the prepared sauce and place lid on top.
Step 6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles.
- The one drawback (if you could call it that) to cooking in a crock pot is that the sauces don't thicken as well. This is due to the fact that the lid stays on and no steam is allowed to escape. This is great for keeping dishes moist but not great for thick sauces and gravies. To help out a slow cooked dish like this chasseur, I like to tweak the lid slightly and allow some steam to escape for the last 45 minutes or so of cooking.
- Adding beef bouillon may not seem traditional in a chicken dish but this is a tip I learned from my head chef in culinary school! It adds an amazing depth of flavor to the sauce. I always keep a jar of both beef bouillon and chicken bouillon in the fridge for deepening the flavor of sauces and soups.
How to Serve Hunter's Stew
This french dish can be served on its own as a low carb dinner, but we generally like it with creamy mashed potatoes, rice, or butter noodles. I recently made with slow cooker chicken chasseur with pappardelle, and it was amazing.
If you are looking for a real treat and you have the time, try it with this simple homemade pappardelle pasta.
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Chicken chasseur freezes well and can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months and then thawed in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove.
Chasseur is often made with poultry, such as chicken or duck. Somethings it is made with veal or even rabbit.
Chasseur is french for "hunter." Chicken Chasseur or Poulet Chasseur is made with ingredients that a hunter might have readily available, like mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes, often cooked in white wine or brandy.
More slow cooker chicken recipes
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Slow Cooker Chicken Chasseur
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 10 oz. cremini mushrooms quartered
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 shallots minced
- 4 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 ½ cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp. herbs de provence
- ¼ cup flour
- 1-2 tsp. beef bouillon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Melt butter over medium heat in a skillet or frying pan on the stove.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper and then coat in flour. Working in stages if necessary, brown the chicken, about 3-4 minutes per side. Place browned chicken on the plate to the side.
- To the skillet, add tomato paste and allow to carmelize for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine and whisk to combine.
- Add chicken stock and beef bouillon paste and whisk until a rich sauce has formed.
- Place boneless chicken thighs into the crock pot, along with diced tomatoes, mushrooms, minced shallot, garlic, and dried herbs. Pour over the prepared sauce and place lid on top.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if necessary.