Chicken with Mustard

content.chilifreshThe great thing about giving a cook book as a gift is that you often become the recipient of the food therein.  My wife loves to cook, and she also has enjoyed reading the blog of David Lebovitz.  She and I have both enjoyed following his stories of an American living in Paris, and his wonderful recipes.

When his book, My Paris Kitchen, came out last fall, I thought it would make the perfect gift.  Filled with Lebovitz’s unique take on French cuisine, the book is also full of stories of life in Paris.  My wife loves the book, and together, she and I have discovered some new favorite recipes.

Here’s a recent experiment that came out quite well.

Poulet à la Moutarde from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

Ingredients:

½ cup, plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika

Freshly ground pepper

¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt

4 chicken thighs and 4 legs (8 pieces total)

1 cup diced smoked thick-cut bacon

1 small onion, peeled and finely diced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ½ teaspoon dried

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard

2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream

warm water (optional)

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish

  1. Mix ½ cup of the Dijon mustard in a bowl with the paprika, a few generous grinds of the peppermill, and the salt.  Toss the chicken pieces in the mustard mixture, lifting the skin and rubbing some of it underneath.
  2. Heat a wide skillet with a cover or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon.  Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until it’s cooked through and just starting to brown.  Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.  Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan, discarding the rest.  Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.  Stir in the thyme, and let cook for another few minutes, and then scrape the cooked onion into a bowl.
  3. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer.  (If they don’t all fit, cook them in two batches.)  Cook over medium-high heat, browning them well on one side, then flip them over and brown them on the other side.  It’s important to get the chicken nicely colored as the coloring — as well as the darkened bits on the bottom of the pan, called the fond — will give the finished sauce its delicious flavor.
  4. Remove the chicken pieces and put them in a bowl with the onions.  Add the wine to the hot pan, scraping the darkened bits off the bottom with a sturdy flat utensil.  Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the bacon and onions.  Cover and cook over low to medium heat, turning the chicken in the sauce a few times during cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Check doneness by sticking a knife into the meat next to the thigh bone; if it’s red, continue cooking for a few more minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, the mustard seeds, and the crème fraîche.  If the sauce has reduced and is quite thick, you can thin it with a little warm water.  Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and serve.
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