Did you know that America has a National Mustard Museum? If I wasn’t painting the town red over in New Glarus in my college years, you might find me over in Mt. Horeb, put on the map not only for its museum, but for its Trollway too. The museum, which opened in 1992 and just moved from Mt. Horeb to Middleton, now has 5,2oo jars of mustard, 1,500 mustard pots and hundreds of items of mustard memorabilia. If you’re ever in southern Wisconsin, it’s worth checking out.
This is all by way of saying that if you like mustard, then you’re going to love this Dijon mustard sauce. Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs at Food52 weren’t kidding when they said, “You will sop up every last bit of sauce with bread because it is so delicious.” I’m not ashamed to admit that I scooped up the last few spoonfuls of sauce straight from the frying pan.
Chicken with Creamy Dijon Mustard Sauce
adapted from Maria Teresa Jorge at Food52.com
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
10 sage leaves
12 garlic cloves, skin left on
8 chicken thighs
1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock (or water if you don’t have stock), heated
1/2 cup (120 ml) white wine
1/3 cup (80 ml) cognac
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large pan, add the butter and the olive oil, the sage leaves and the garlic cloves 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 a medium-low heat. Turn them with a spatula without damaging the chicken and brown the other side. They will be cooking more later, so you just want to get the nice golden brown color now.
Remove the chicken from the pan, add the white wine and the cognac and deglaze the pan, scraping up any crispy bits stuck on the bottom. Let the alcohol evaporate completely, then add the mustard and dissolve in the sauce with a whisk.
Add the chicken thighs back to the pan. Add enough hot chicken stock so that it comes up two-thirds of the height of the chicken thighs. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and simmer over a low heat, covered, for 20 minutes.
Remove the cooked chicken thighs and keep warm. Let the sauce simmer over a low heat to reduce to as much as you will need for the 8 thighs. Squeeze the garlic cloves and sage in the pan with the back of a wooden spoon or spatula to release more flavor, then discard them.
In a bowl, sift the flour and dissolve it in 3 tablespoons of cream using a whisk. Add the remaining cream and whisk. Now add a bit of hot sauce, whisk together very well and slowly pour the cream mixture into the pan, whisking well with all the sauce, over a very low heat. Keep whisking so the sauce doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Let the sauce reduce again to the amount you need, always stirring. You will need about 1 cup (240 ml) of sauce to serve with the 8 chicken thighs. Pour the hot sauce over the chicken thighs and serve immediately with some mashed potatoes.
French String Beans
from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
1 lb (450 g) French string beans, both ends removed
1 red onion, large-diced
1/2 red pepper, large-diced
1/2 yellow pepper, large-diced
good olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Blanch the string beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for just 4 minutes. Drain immediately and immerse in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When they are cool, drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl toss the onion and bell peppers together with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for about 15 minutes, tossing with a spatula from time to time to be sure the vegetables roast evenly.
Just before serving, reheat the string beans in a large saute pan drizzled with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and arrange on a platter. Spoon the roasted vegetables over the string beans and serve hot or at room temperature.