I really should have baked a baguette for this one. Chicken Dijonnaise, or Poulet à la Moutarde, begs to have its tangy, creamy sauce soaked into a fresh hunk of warm bread.
It could be argued that Jean Naigeon is the father of this dish, as well as a few others. In 1856 in Dijon, Burgundy, Naigeon substituted the acidic juice of unripe grapes (verjuice) for vinegar in the traditional mustard recipe. Now white wine is used to make Dijon mustard instead of verjuice and Naigeon is barely a footnote in gastronomic history. That doesn’t seem fair…
Chicken Dijonnaise is easy enough to make, but no one needs to know that, do they?
Adapted from a recipe by Kerry Saretsky
I used boneless, skinless thighs for this recipe, but you can use legs, breasts, or the whole chicken if you prefer. The dark meat of the thighs are a nice match for the weight of the heavy cream and the in-your-face tanginess of the Dijon mustard. The completed dish has a nice balance of all of the flavors.
Put a heavy pan on medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. As the fat starts to warm up pat the chicken dry and season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
At this point the oil should be hot and the butter should have just started to brown.
Lay the chicken thighs in the fat, being careful not to crowd the pan.
This will take about 7 minutes per side before you get a nice crust on the thighs, plenty of time to chop the onion and garlic.
Once the chicken has a nice color on each side, remove it from the pan and set aside. Drain the excess fat from the pan, leaving just enough to coat the bottom before adding the onion. The brown bits of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pan is what’s known as fond, which is appropriate considering how much you’re going to love the flavor and color it imparts to the dish.
Cook the onions until they are translucent, which will take 5 minutes or so and look something like this:
Stir the garlic into the onions and cook for another minute.
Now it’s time to add the white wine.
Deglaze the pan by scraping the fond off of the bottom, you’ll start to notice a nice golden color.
Cook over medium heat until the wine is reduced by about half, then add the chicken stock, stir, and add the chicken thighs back to the pan. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it. If not, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme will do.
Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover pan for about a half hour.
While that’s going whisk together 1/2 cup mustard and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Once the chicken has cooked for another half hour, remove the lid and cook for another ten minutes.
Now you’re ready to separate the juices in the pan from the onions and garlic. First you’ll need to remove the chicken from the pan for the last time.
A strainer really comes in handy for this step. If you don’t have a strainer, a slotted spoon will do just fine.
After five minutes or so the sauce should be noticeably thicker.
Spoon the onions and garlic over the chicken, then drizzle the Dijonnaise sauce over the top.
The rosemary roasted potatoes were delicious with this dish, but I really missed that baguette I mentioned earlier. Bon Appetit!
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
- 1 small onion.
- 3 cloves garlic.
- ½ cup white wine.
- 1½ cup chicken stock.
- ½ cup Dijon mustard.
- ½ cup heavy cream.
- 2 tb olive oil.
- 1 tb unsalted butter.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add olive oil and butter to a heavy pan, then bring to medium heat.
- While pan is coming to temperature pat the chicken dry and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add chicken and sear until dark brown on both sides, about 7 minutes per side.
- Mince onion and garlic separately while chicken is searing.
- Remove seared chicken from pan and drain the fat until just the bottom of pan is covered.
- Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
- Add white wine and deglaze pan, being sure to scrape the fond from the bottom of pan.
- Add chicken stock and thyme, bring to a boil.
- Add chicken back to pan, cover and reduce to a simmer for ½ hour.
- Whisk together mustard and heavy cream.
- Remove lid from pan and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken and place in serving dish.
- Strain onions and garlic from juice, spooning onion and garlic over chicken.
- Over medium heat, blend juice, mustard and cream and simmer until it slightly thickens.
- Pour sauce over chicken and serve warm.