Chicken Breasts Steamed in Cabbage with Cider Cream Sauce

Chef Richard 4 Servings 20 minutes

This is an elegant preparation for chicken, elevating the humble bird to new heights. By enveloping the chicken breasts in cabbage, they remain moist and juicy.


  • Cider Cream Sauce (recipe follows)
  • 4-8 large leaves of napa or other green cabbage
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled & sliced tart apples, cut approximately ¼ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons slivered shallots
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality curry powder
  • 4 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • Garnish: Roasted baby carrots and onions, fresh thyme leaves

Cider Cream Sauce:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1½ cup minced scallions, white part only
  • 1 cup peeled, cored, and roughly chopped tart apples
  • 2/3 cup apple cider or 1/3 cup applejack brandy
  • 2 cups rich chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon drained green peppercorns


  • Make the Cider Cream Sauce and set aside.  In lightly salted boiling water briefly blanch the cabbage leaves, about 30 seconds.  Remove and plunge immediately into ice water to stop the cooking, then drain and set aside.  In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter or oil and sauté the apples and shallots until tender.  Add the Curry powder and sauté until fragrant, approximately 1 to 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Divide the sautéed apples among the four cabbage leaves.  Place a chicken breast on top of the apple mixture and fold over the cabbage leaves to completely enclose.  If necessary, place a second cabbage leaf around the mixture.  In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of butter or oil.  Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté 1 minute.  Place the cabbage packets on top of the mushrooms, add the wine, cover, and steam over moderate heat for 7 to 10 minutes or until the breasts are just done, but moist.

Cider Cream Sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and sauté the mushrooms, scallions and apples until lightly browned.  Add the cider or brandy, stock, and lemon juice and reduce by half.  Add the cream and reduce to a light sauce consistency.  Remove from the heat, whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, and strain the sauce.  Slightly crush the green peppercorns and add to the sauce.  Keep warm.  To serve, remove the cabbage packets and mushrooms with a slotted spoon and place on warm plates on a pool of the Cider Cream Sauce. Garnish with the baby vegetables.