Saturday, April 25, 2009

Chicken Dijon

I first tasted this version of Chicken Dijon at an office catered lunch back in the day when I had a 9-5 job. In a long day of working with clinical data, taking a break for a catered meal thrilled this foodie way more than I would let on. After tinkering with it a few years, I've finally reverse engineered the recipe. I'm sure this one is not authentic to the French original but it's just so delicious I don't care. Tender chicken simmered in a dijon cream sauce spiked heavily with tarragon. I'd never had tarragon, I'm not a licorice fan at all but in this dish the tarragon works and does not have that pungent licorice punch. Seriously, believe me and don't substitute anything else for the tarragon.

Chicken Dijon

2-2 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white wine - make sure it's a drinkable wine, no cooking wine allowed
3 tablespoons fresh tarragon, minced - I usually use dried, about 1 1/2 tablespoons but this time I bought a pack of fresh tarragon and loved the taste. I pretty much used the whole pack, leaves only.
3-4 cups heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard
more salt and pepper to taste

Mix the salt & pepper with the flour. Dredge the chicken in the flour lightly then set aside. Over medium-high heat saute the onion in the olive oil and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

When the onion is soft, add more oil or butter if necessary then add the chicken in one layer, shaking off the excess flour to brown. I usually do the browning in two batches. Once the chicken browns on one side, stir, let it cook for another 2 minutes or so then take out of the pan. It doesn't matter if some of the onion is taken out with the chicken.

Once all the chicken is browned and set aside, add the white wine and garlic to the hot pan. Let the mixture boil for two minutes. This will boil out most of the alcohol and also deglaze the pan.

Next, add the cream, mustard and tarragon to the wine/garlic mixture. My family likes this saucy so I use the 4 cups of cream but if you'd like to cut back on the sauce amount and richness you can use 3 cups. Also I use 2 healthy tablespoons of dijon mustard but if you'd like more pungency, go for 3. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken back in the pan and bring the sauce to a simmer. Not a boil, just a gentle but bubbling simmer.

Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring often or until the chicken is done and the sauce thickens and looks more like a loose gravy. See how the bubbles are bigger and the sauce has reduced enough to coat the chicken thickly?

Finally, serve all that luscious sauce and flavorful chicken over a healthy serving of Dominican white rice. Garnish with the last little leaf of tarragon your boys didn't mash. What? You don't know how to make Dominican white rice? Excuse me while my abuela faints. Now, for those of you poor deprived people who grew up without beautiful, loose grained white rice so flavorful you could eat it alone, no worries. I'll post the recipe next week.

See those hands behind the plate? The boys. When I served one spoonful of rice and one teeny spoonful of chicken to take a nice shot my oldest asked in horror, "why are you serving me so little??" So even though they were assured to get a normal sized portion if they would stop trying to poke the demo, even though behind me was a pan full of chicken, they were stalking this one bite which they promptly devoured after the picture.

On the cloth napkin front, I'm making progress. It's hard to take a picture of a stack of beige napkins but for accountability's sake, here it is. I'm about halfway done.


Anonymous said...

Very tasty and tender. I replaced the onion/ garlic combo with shallots (more french), and after deglazing with white wine I added 1 cup of chicken stock and reduced the cream to 1 cup ( I made less chicken).

Marielle said...

Oooh drool over the shallots. Your tweaks sound very tasty. We just made this today again.