This is the last recipe our group will be scheduled to make from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz. Undoubtedly, some will play catch-up to complete the project, and likely some will repeat several of the recipes made over the past few years from this book. But this – this is the last recipe scheduled from the book. In keeping with the tradition of Around My French Table, we are “cooking the cover”. That is, the beautiful dish shown on the cover, and looked upon every time the book came off the shelf. A humble name for an important dish – simply called “Chicken with mustard”.
Realistically, it probably is a bit of a humble dish. Just some chicken and some nice Applewood smoked bacon were all I needed to pick up from the market, everything else I had on hand. And it is simple and quick enough for a weeknight. It would certainly make a nice dish for an impromptu dinner party!
To be honest, I was skeptical about this dish – for the full recipe – 1 CUP of Dijon mustard! I’ve gotten used to the French love of mustard, and can often get on board. But still – this was way outside of my food comfort zone. So for my quarter portion, 1/4 c. still seemed like a lot. And it seemed counterintuitive to slather all of that on the chicken prior to browning. The mustard is combined with smoked paprika and some salt and pepper, then tossed with the chicken, making sure that some is under the skin.
Next up, some bacon is crisped in a pan, then removed to drain. The onion is softened in the same pan, fresh thyme added – and then all removed to another bowl. If needed, a bit of olive oil can be added to the pan, and the chicken browned. Once that’s removed, the pan is deglazed with the wine and a sturdy flat spatula. I was surprised that the mustard coating did as well as it did – it looks pretty brown, but did not burn, and did come up off the pan quite successfully. So – nice surprise.
The chicken, bacon and onions are all added back to the pan, then covered and cooked over a low-medium heat. I did end up adding a bit of liquid as I turned the chicken a few times over the course of the 15 minutes (“Alexa, set a 5 minute check-the-chicken timer!”). The chicken needs to be tested to ensure that it’s cooked thoroughly.
Finally, I added some cream, (probably not the additional Dijon) and about a teaspoon of mustard seeds. In this step, you can sub whole-grain mustard for the seeds, and I almost did, but wanted to stick to the original.
To go with, I decided to use some of my fancy fettucine that I picked up at an Italian market last week (note to self: it takes longer to cook than the package says!).
I served this with the required chopped parley garnish and a little Sauvignon Blanc.
I fully expected to not just love this dish – but all of the ingredients harmonized to make a fabulous meal! I should not have doubted, I suppose (after all – it was cover worthy!). The smoky bacon and paprika balanced the acidic mustard and wine with the sweetness of the chicken. And I really loved the “pop” of the mustard seeds, so was very happy that I chose that direction. The leftovers were also still amazing, which is a big plus for a dish like this. I could easily double it (which means halve the actual recipe), and have the leftovers, or potentially freeze some? I’d love to know if anyone tried that. The cookbook suggests fresh herbed pasta, or celery root puree to serve with. The sauce is so good, you’d want something, even if it were a piece of crusty bread.
I’m so happy that this was the final recipe from the book we are scheduled to make! And super happy that I was able to get it made (on time!). It really did live up to its cover-worthy place!
To find out what others in our group thought about this recipe, check out the other posts on cookthebookfridays. And, if you’re interested, we are shifting over to cooking through Everyday Dorie, the most recent cookbook by Dorie Greenspan. It’s terrific, and while we’ve already started, we’ll be shifting to a 2x a month schedule – you’ll be able to see what we all come up with! This book is a bit of a departure, as the recipes are things that Dorie might (and does!) cook at home – not all French, but all with her delicious spin on things.