Pan-Roasted Chicken in Poblano Cream Sauce

by Emily Kemme

In these days of needing comfort, familiar foods take many forms. I am finding myself cooking way too many home-cooked meals while dreaming of the expertise of professional chefs who know how to create those creamy sauces that are tinged with a chili’s heat. This is not an Italian Alfredo, and it’s not a French white sauce. The base consistency comes from neither flour nor cheese. There is flavor, though. It comes from meaty poblano chiles infused into chicken broth, kissed by onions and thickened over time with slow cooking and half and half — that magical combination of milk and cream that makes a sauce that’s just decadent enough.

Pair the poblano cream sauce with pan-roasted chicken with its skin crisped and then slowly simmered until tender. The steps in the recipe are simple and easy to follow, and in that, they make sense. There’s nothing fancy about this recipe, but the resulting taste is divine. Nestle the chicken up to fluffy mashed potatoes and liberally douse with the creamy poblano essence.

You’ll immediately feel comforted. I know I do.

Pan-Roasted Chicken in Poblano Cream Sauce Recipe


  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken, mixture of breasts and thighs
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano chilis, (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup diced Hatch green chiles (from can or frozen)
  • 2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • butter and olive oil

Cook the recipe:

To prepare poblano chilis:

Place poblano chilis on a gas burner, or broil until charred. Turn occasionally to make sure charring is even. Put peppers in glass bowl, cover with plate, and let them sweat for 15 minutes. Peel and remove seeds and ribs. Chop 2 peppers coarsely and set aside. 

To cook the recipe:
  1. Brown the chicken pieces well in batches in 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  2. Remove chicken pieces from skillet and place in clean bowl.
  3. Add 2 T unsalted butter and olive oil? to skillet and sauté onions and garlic until tender, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour wine into skillet and bring to boil, scraping browned particles, until liquid is almost evaporated
  5. Add chicken broth and chilies to skillet and bring to low boil. Nestle chicken pieces in broth skin side up. Add any drippings from bowl to skillet. Simmer chicken covered on low for an hour, or until flesh is very tender.
  6. Remove cooked chicken to clean bowl. Add diced poblano to skillet and warm for several minutes. Add half and half to skillet. Stir and adjust salt and pepper. Bring liquid to simmer, making sure to not boil. Carefully pour hot mixture into blender and purée.
  7. Return poblano cream sauce to skillet along with chicken. Heat two minutes to warm.
  8. Serve chicken on top of mashed potatoes with cream sauce.
  9. Serves 6.

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