Monday, February 14, 2011


It started so innocently, with vinaigrettes. Then there was a soup, some BBQ chicken, a quesadilla, and a bread pudding. And now here I am, having transformed from a Dijon-phobe to someone who sees this recipe at Smitten Kitchen, a recipe with “Dijon” right there in the title, and thinks, “That looks really tasty!” And promptly makes it. And slathers the sauce all over her potatoes and asparagus. And licks the plate.

What can I say? This is a simple yet sophisticated one-skillet recipe consisting of plain old roasted chicken (cut into pieces and browned on the stovetop for quicker cooking) and a bright, savory, well-balanced (and, I hasten to reassure my former self, not too overwhelmingly mustardy) white wine-Dijon-cream pan sauce. I served it with smoked paprika roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus (although steamed green beans would be lovely too; I’d actually planned on those, but then asparagus surprised me by already being in season at the farmers’ market—I love you, southern California!). I substituted crème fraiche for the heavy cream, just because I already had some in the fridge waiting to be used up (and also because it is delicious). I should have let the sauce reduce a bit more, but it was Saturday night and I was tired and impatient and sauce-greedy, so I decided to err on the side of plentiful and thin rather than scanty and thick. Unfortunately, while a sauce shortage is certainly a bad thing, sauce that’s so runny it won’t stay on the chicken but instead keeps escaping to your plate, depriving your mouth of many precious droplets, is no fun either. We both loved this regardless, but I’ll definitely strive for a saucier sauce next time.

3 pounds chicken parts (thighs, drumsticks, and/or breasts), with skin and bones
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
¾ cup dry white wine
¾ cup reduced-sodium or sodium-free chicken broth
¼ cup heavy cream (or crème fraiche)
2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives or the green parts of scallions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Pat chicken dry and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet (if you’ve got a cast-iron skillet, it is great here) over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Working in two batches, brown chicken, skin side down first and turning once, about 5 minutes per batch.

3. Return all chicken, skin side up, to skillet and roast in oven until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a platter, then add shallots, wine, and broth to pan juices in skillet and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and boil until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. To thicken the sauce further, turn the heat to high and boil it until it reduces to a consistency you prefer. Whisk in mustard, chives, and salt and pepper to taste, then spoon over chicken.

Serves: 4–5
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: OK.

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