Braised chicken with mustard sauce

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Paco and I are huge lovers (lovahs) of mustard. Not yellow mustard (although I will certainly eat it on a sandwich), but hot sweet, deli style, grainy dijon, etc. Here are the mustards that we currently have in our fridge and pantry.

When I saw Melissa d’Arabian make this, I thought that it would be perfect to make for Paco after his long post-Christmas drive home from the Bay Area. I really like Melissa d’Arabian’s food, but I tend to modify her recipes quite a bit. I think there are a lot of choices that she makes in order to stick to the format of the show (a meal for 4 people for under $10 total), and the changes I make would probably violate the assumptions of the show (e.g., using more/more expensive mushrooms, fresh herbs, etc.).

In this recipe, the only changes I made were to leave the skin on the chicken thighs and to double the amount of mushrooms (I used crimini). I used grainy dijon mustard because that’s what we had, but a creamy mustard would probably give you a smoother flavor (if that’s what you’re going for – ha!).  I also used red wine to deglaze the pan because I didn’t feel like opening a bottle of white wine and because the recipe called for such a small amount.

I served it with egg noodles, as suggested. I tossed mine with a little bit of butter, sour cream, fresh herbs (tarragon and basil, because I had them on hand), salt, and pepper.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Mustard Sauce,
adapted from Melissa d’Arabian

1 1/2 lbs. chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
Kosher salt and pepper
2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 T flour
2 T fresh tarragon, minced
1/2 c. red wine
1 c. chicken stock
2 T half-and-half (optional)
1/4 c. grainy dijon mustard
2 T sour cream

Position your oven rack to a low level so that there’s space for a Dutch oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 T of oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Brown the chicken thighs by placing them in the pan skin-side down. Flip them when they release easily. When browned on both sides, remove from pan.

Drain off all but 1 T of the chicken fat that is in the pan, then saute the onions until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms, continue to cook until mushrooms are soft. Add garlic, continue to cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring the flour into the fat at the bottom of the pan. Add tarragon.

Deglaze the pan by pouring the wine into the pan and letting it boil until the alcohol has cooked off. Add the chicken back to the pan, then add enough chicken stock so that the chicken is half covered.

Cover the pan, then allow to braise in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the lid after 25 minutes, so that the sauce reduces.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the oven and remove the chicken from the pan. Add the optional half–and-half, and allow it to simmer over medium heat for a minute or so. Turn off the heat, then whisk in the mustard and sour cream. Return the chicken to the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

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