Chicken with Mustard
Many years ago, when prices were ridiculously low, I bought an enormous copper pan at E. Dehillerin, the famed cookware shop in Les Halles. This one-pan meal is a perfect fit for your largest, most extravagant pot.
This dish requires you to brown the thighs and legs. Unless you have a very large skillet or a Dutch oven, fry the chicken in batches—you want them to have room to brown, not steam, which overcrowding creates.
This dish is best served with a tangle of herbed fresh pasta, which is exactly the right vehicle for sopping up the delicious sauce, or celery root puree.
- 1/2 cup (135g), plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard ? teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 4 chicken thighs and 4 legs (8 pieces, total)
- 1 cup (100g) diced smoked thick-cut bacon
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or ? teaspoon dried
- 1 cup (250ml) white wine
- 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
- 2 to 3 tablespoons cr?me fra?che or heavy cream
- Warm water (optional)
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish
- Mix 1/2 cup (135g) of the Dijon mustard in a bowl with the paprika, a few generous grinds of the peppermill, and the salt. Toss the chicken pieces in the mustard mixture, lifting the skin and rubbing some of it underneath.
- Heat a wide skillet with a cover or a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, until it’s cooked through and just starting to brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of bacon fat in the pan, discarding the rest. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the thyme, and let cook for another few minutes, and then scrape the cooked onion into a bowl.
- Add a little bit of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and place the chicken pieces in the pan in a single layer. (If they don’t all fit, cook them in two batches.) Cook over medium-high heat, browning them well on one side, then flip them over and brown them on the other side. It’s important to get the chicken nicely colored as the coloring—as well as the darkened bits on the bottom of the pan, called the fond—will give the finished sauce its delicious flavor.
- Remove the chicken pieces and put them in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the hot pan, scraping the darkened bits off the bottom with a sturdy flat utensil. Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the bacon and onions. Cover and cook over low to medium heat, turning the chicken in the sauce a few times during cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Check doneness by sticking a knife into the meat next to the thigh bone; if it’s red, continue cooking for a few more minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, the mustard seeds, and the cr?me fra?che. If the sauce has reduced and is quite thick, you can thin it with a little warm water. Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and serve.