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One French word : volaille, a French recipe: crème de volaillle

Volaille, feminine noun (une volaille, la volaille, des volailles) = poultry (pronounced vau-lie (like telling a lie). In the singular, it’s a farmyard bird, in the plural, poultry.

It comes from the verb voler (to fly). No clever definitions and examples today, I can’t find any.

But my recipe is for crème de volaille = cream of chicken soup, which is the ultimate comfort food.

Crème de volaille

For a large pot of soup, for about 6-8 people, you will need:

  • three medium sized leeks, washed and chopped
  • 2 small potatoes
  • a large bunch of parsley
  • a couple of handfuls of meat from a cold chicken
  • 2 litres of water and 2 stock cubes (or 2 litres of home-made chicken stock)
  • pepper
  • butter and flour to make a beurre manié (1tbs soft butter, 1 tbs flour, mixed well with a fork to form a paste)
  • a little whipping cream
  • a few celery or fennel seeds


  1. Sweat the leeks in a little oil or butter until softened.
  2. Add the cubed potatoes, the chicken pieces chopped into smallish pieces, and the parsley and cook for a further minute or two.
  3. Pour on the stock or the water with the cubes.
  4. Simmer gently for a good half hour.
  5. Mix well with a soup mixer, until very creamy with no bits and lumps.
  6. Add the beurre manié and stir well. (The beurre manié thickens the soup.)
  7. Test for seasoning and add a little pepper.
  8. Whip some cream with a little celery salt,  and pipe a large rosette into the middle of each serving, topped with a few celery or fennel seeds, to garnish.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

3 responses »

  1. Another great recipe that uses leeks. I have a lot of these from my CSA box. They are so expensive, normally I would not have them.

  2. Voler also gives rise to ‘volatile’ to describe any feathered creature. I love chicken in all its guises, provided it is free range, organic etc and preferably Bresse. But you can’t always get it so you just have to make do with what you can get. I always thought chicken soup was time-consuming to make but your recipe has convinced me otherwise.


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