My Communal Table


Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce

My friend, Sarah, has been known to say, “Food is just the vehicle for the sauce.” This is one of those dishes. Twelve garlic cloves and lots of sage make this creamy mustard sauce the kind of stuff that you sop up with your bread and pour over your mashed potatoes. I was inspired by a fabulous Portuguese chef and restaurant owner, Marie Teresa Jorge. She also has a farm in Tuscany. I know, right… a farm in Tuscany. How cool is that?Her original recipe is on Food 52. I changed it up a bit, but what I still add wine and cognac and make a cream slurry in the end to give it a smooth finish. It is just so good.

I bought five amish sourced chicken thighs and legs for $3.17. Not organic, but no horomones or steroids were added. I made mashed potatoes with vegan butter and ricemilk, then topped with fried leeks. A simple salad with lemon vinaigrette compliment the creaminess of the chicken and potatoes. My friends brought the bread and wine. The lettuce and potatoes were from a local and organic source. This entire meal easily fed four adults and two children and was made up of under $8.00 of ingredients. This rustic lip smacking meal was fresh, easy to make and cheaper then feeding six people at McDonald’s. When I do the math and think about the health of my family, I can not believe that I ever go out for fast food. Oh and then I remember that I have moments of pure laziness. Oh, the guilt…

Serves 6

8 chicken thighs or 5-6 leg and thighs
12 garlic cloves with skin on
10 sage leaves
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Dijon Classic Mustard
2/3 cup White wine
1/3 cup Cognac
1 cup Chicken stock or water if you don’t have stock
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
salt
black and white pepper

1. In a large enough pan, add the butter and the olive oil, the sage leaves and the garlics with the skin on them. When the butter starts to sizzle add the chicken thighs skin side down and let them get golden brown over medium low heat. Turn them with a spatula without damaging the chicken and brown the other side. They will be cooking later so you just want to get the nice golden brown color now.

2. Heat the chicken stock.

3. Remove the chicken from the pan, add the white wine and the cognac and deglaze the pan, scraping any pieces of meat stuck on the bottom. Let the alcohol evaporate completely, then add the mustard and dissolve in the sauce with a whisk.

4. Place the chicken in a baking pan in a 375F oven and let it cook through and crisp up the skin a little. Approximently 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, add the hot chicken stock to sauce pan. Season with salt and freshly ground white and black pepper and let simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Squeeze the garlics and sage in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to release more flavour, then discard them.

7. Sift the flour and dissolve it in 3 tablespoons of cream using a whisk. Add the remaining cream and whisk. Keep whisking so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom. Let the sauce reduce again to the amount you need, always stirring.

8. Remove chicken from oven and place on plate or platter. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken and serve immediately with some mashed potatoes.

By the way, you should really fry up some leeks to put on the top of the mashed potatoes. Adds a whole flavor and texture element that puts it over the top. Just toss the sliced leeks in a little flour, shake off excess and drop in some oil. Brown, drain on paper towel, and salt. So good.

So, I am working on it. You know… putting myself on the list of things that I need to take care of. I know in my heart and soul it is just as fast to stay home and make dinner, then to hop in the car and go out for fast food. My family and the planet deserve the attention that I pay to preparing meals at home. It saves money, it is healthier, and I produce a lot less waste and conserve energy by cooking fresh locally sourced food. So.. l am working on it and it does seem to be getting easier. You all are keeping me honest.

Pull up a chair, Elizabeth