I’m unapologetic about my love for French food. Some of it’s simply nostalgia. I love the time I’ve spent in France, and the kind close friends who live there. But there’s something else. French cooking – and I mean rustic homestyle french cooking, not the finicky perfection of modern Haute Cuisine – builds layer on layer of flavor and technique to turn simple fresh ingredients into wonderful heady dishes that work just as well for a charming dinner party, or a warming midweek meal. Poulet Moutarde is one of those wonderful chimeras. It’s at once sophisticated and simple, made from simple and easily accessible ingredients, but delivering sophisticated flavor that appeals to even your most discerning dinner guest.
This classic, rustic, French dish is strange, beautiful, shockingly mild, and so delicious that it is almost addictive. It is built on two caramelized elements, taking full advantage of the Maillard reaction’s beautiful transformations to build flavor with an otherwise simple list of ingredients.
Poulet MoutardeCourse: Dinner, MainCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Easy
French style mustard Chicken
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
4 tbsp fine Dijon mustard
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups light chicken stock
1 oz brandy or white wine
1 medium onion
1 sprig fresh tarragon
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat your oven to 350°.
- Peel, trim, and slice the onion radially (cutting from root to top)
- Add 1 tbsp of butter to an oven-proof pan or Dutch oven over a medium flame.
- Once the butter has melted and stopped foaming, add the sliced onion, season with salt, and cook until well caramelized.
- Deglaze the pan with brandy or white wine, and remove the onions.
- Add the remaining butter. As soon as it has stopped foaming, add the mustard-coated chicken and brown on each side.
- The mustard will stick to the pan and form a dark fond. Once the fond forms, remove the chicken, add the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer, stirring to loosen the caramelized mustard and creating a well-integrated sauce (as smooth and well combined as is possible.)
- Return the chicken to the pan, spooning sauce over the pieces.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the chicken begins to fall away from the bone (about 45 minutes to an hour).
- To finish, remove the chicken from the sauce, whisk in the cream, and spoon the sauce generously over the pieces, topping with chopped targon to garnish.