Monday, July 28, 2008

Chicken with Mustard Sauce

A long time ago I bought the cookbook How To Boil Water. It's got some fun and easy recipes, as well as some great tips for beginners. It's filled with simple how-tos and encourages beginning home cooks to really make dishes their own and not to be afraid of trying something new.

It's not one I look to for inspiration most of the time. If I need to remind myself how to properly slice a mushroom or if I'm looking for a substitution suggestion, that's the first place I'll turn. For some reason this weekend I came to a standstill with meal ideas. I picked a few favorites to repeat, but nothing new looked good to me. I realized I hadn't really looked at this cookbook for meal ideas since we got married, and I found an old favorite of my dad's to whip up for dinner tonight. Graham liked it, and I found the chicken tender and moist. I've changed a few things around, but here's the recipe as it's printed in the cookbook.

Chicken with Mustard Sauce

4 boneless chicken breast halves, with skin
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth
1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 T. all-purpose flour
2 T. water
2 T. whole grain mustard
1 T. unsalted butter (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season all over with salt and black pepper. Add the oil to the hot pan and swirl to evenly coat.

Lay the chicken pieces in the pan, skin side down, and cook without moving them until the skin crisps and browns, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a baking dish, skin side up, and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Pour the wine into the hot skillet. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Boil until almost all the wine evaporates and it gets a little syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Mix the flour and water together to make a thin paste. Whisk paste and mustard into the broth and boil until the sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Swirl in the butter, if using, to give the sauce a little richness; season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Add any collected juices from the chicken to the sauce. Put chicken on a plate, pour the sauce on top, and serve.

  • I substitute Dijon mustard for this in place of regular mustard. I like the flavor better, and it give the sauce a nice color.
  • Even though it's not the healthiest option, I always add the butter at the end because it gives the sauce a nice gloss and weight to it.
  • I always doctor this up with some thyme or rosemary, usually. They compliment the mustard and add a nice flavor without being overpowering. I don't know why I don't use thyme in my dishes more often. Because really, thyme is on my side. Yes it is.
  • Forgive me for that last comment. Please?
  • You can save on calories by cutting out the skin and not adding the juices from the chicken to the sauce. I've never added the chicken juices and the sauce always comes out just fine.
  • If you make the same changes I did, note that the sauce won't thicken up exactly the way it's supposed to. It's always a little bit thinner, but we like it that way.
  • Once I substituted pork chops for the chicken breasts and it came out divine. It was indeed a holy union.
  • You can omit the wine and add a little more chicken stock, or mix lemon juice with water or vinegar, but why would you? Cooking with wine is delightful. Drinking the wine as you cook is even more delightful!

1 comment:

  1. Yum - what a great way to prepare chicken... and I love whole grain mustard for its stronger flavor :)


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