Roasted Chicken With Classic or Curry Soubise (Onion Sauce) Recipe

Soubise, a creamy onion sauce, is a great way to use up extra onions. Daniel Gritzer

Soubise, an old-school French sauce classically made by puréeing softened onions with bechamel, is a great pairing for all sorts of roasted meats, like the roast chicken here. In this more modern version, it's simplified and lightened by using cream in place of the bechamel, then flavored with curry powder or vadouvan, a French variation on curry powder with garlic and shallots.

Why this recipe works:

  • Using cream in place of the classic bechamel produces a sauce that's light, not thick and starchy.
  • Curry or vadouvan add depth and dimension to the sauce, while playing nicely with the onion and cream flavors.

Note: Vadouvan, a French curry powder flavored with shallots and garlic, is available in specialty food stores and online.

Recipe Facts

Active: 60 mins
Total: 60 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 large chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black and/or white pepper

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon softened

  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder or vadouvan spice, optional (see note)


  1. Set oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Using sharp kitchen shears, remove spine from chicken and reserve for another use (such as homemade chicken stock). Flatten chicken by placing skin side up on cutting board and applying firm pressure to breast bone. Season generously with salt and pepper.

  2. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Position chicken so that breasts are aligned with center of baking sheet and legs are close to edge. Roast for 20 minutes, then rub skin all over with the 1 tablespoon softened butter. Return to oven and cook until thickest part of breast close to bone registers 150°F on an instant-read thermometer and joint between thighs and body registers at least 170°F, 25 to 45 minutes longer.

  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until foaming. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and most liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Stir in cream and simmer for 5 minutes.

  4. Transfer hot onions and cream to a blender. Add curry powder or vadouvan if using, and blend, starting at low speed and gradually increasing to high, until a smooth sauce forms. If desired, pass sauce through a fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids with a spoon, for an even more refined texture. Return onion sauce to saucepan and season with salt and white pepper (note that sauce should have a texture that's thicker than most sauces but thinner than a puree). Keep warm.

  5. Carve chicken and serve, spooning sauce all around.

Special equipment

Blender, rimmed baking sheet with rack

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
960 Calories
80g Fat
11g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 960
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 80g 103%
Saturated Fat 37g 186%
Cholesterol 343mg 114%
Sodium 990mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 11mg 55%
Calcium 106mg 8%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 728mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)