Wednesday, May 7, 2008

chicken with mustard sauce and kitchen French

I learned all my kitchen French from a Scottish Sous Chef I apprenticed with named Nigel. All my pronunciations are wrong - you know French with a Scottish Brogue? It's really great.

Here's dinner last night. This was a good, simple dinner for a Tuesday night. I used red skin potatoes, despite not-so-secret food crush for its cousin the russet. I think the trick to making roasted potatoes is to cook them twice. So, I either steam or nuke the potatoes to par cook them and then roast them with garlic butter and olive oil. To keep the potatoes from sticking I preheat the pan with the oil and butter and then add the potatoes to the hot pan with the hot oil and butter and whole garlic cloves. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast on 400 for 30 minutes. Really good - the outside is crispy and golden and the inside is soft and potato-ey.

The chicken is just a sauteed chicken breast and I make a pan sauce with chicken stock, cream, and coarse grain mustard. I like Maille brand. They've been making mustard since 1747 so I think they know a bit about it! Honestly, the mustard is richer and not as acidic (read: vinegary) as some other better known brands. Pommerey mustard is good, also. I really like to see the mustard seeds in there. I am not trying to be a food snob about this but I truly believe the adage of "garbage in, garbage out" more than ever when using just a few simple ingredients. Mustard is the dominant flavor in this sauce, so it should be really good mustard. Enough said about the mustard.

Chicken breast with Mustard Sauce

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed of fat and nasties and pounded lightly
2 tablespoons of AP flour
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 cup of good chicken broth or stock or white wine
1/2 cup of cream
2 tablespoons of really nasty, cheap yellow mustard (just kidding!)

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and rub lightly with the flour. Heat the oil in a large saute' pan over medium high heat. Cook the chicken on each side until golden brown - about 3-4 minutes per side. If it is still not done, finish it in a 350 degree oven. Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape up any good chicken bits in the bottom of the pan. Reduce the chicken stock to almost dry (called au sec in French) and add the cream and whisk in the mustard. Reduce by 1/2 or until the cream is thick enough the coat the back of a spoon and holds the line when you draw your finger across it (called nappe' in French). (I wish I had a picture of what this looks like. Note to self - take a picture of a nappe' sauce on a spoon.) Serve the cook chicken with the mustard sauce. The sauce is good with asparagus so I served asparagus on the side.

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