Poulet à la moutarde de Dijon (Chicken Dijon)

Mustard has the ability to make bland dishes more interesting and it can be used with all types of meats, poultry and seafood. Dishes prepared with Dijon mustard are usually called “à la dijonnaise” and there is a reason for that, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Mustard is an ancient spice — one of the world’s most popular seasonings. The Chinese have grown mustard for more than 3,000 years and the Egyptians popped the seeds into their mouths when eating meat. It was the Romans who brought the seeds to France, sprinkling them along the roads where the plants flourished.

At first, mustard was considered a medicinal plant rather than a culinary one. In the 6th century B.C., Greek scientist Pythagoras applied mustard to relieve scorpion stings. One hundred years later, Hippocrates used mustard in a variety of medicines.

Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France and without a doubt, the mustard capital of the world. It was not until the 14th century that this condiment was officially called “mustard”. In 1382 the French Duke of Burgundy granted a coat of arms to the city of Dijon bearing the motto “Moult Me Tarde” -meaning “much awaits me”. And by this time, dijon gained its reputation as the home of the master mustard makers in Dijon mustard was considered the condiment of the kings. In 1777 the Dijon mustard firm was founded when Monsieur Grey developed a secret recipe for strong mustard made with white wine. When he formed a partnership with financier Monsieur Poupon — voilà! — Grey Poupon mustard was born! Today at 32 rue de la Liberté in Dijon, one can visit the Grey Poupon building.

The chicken drumstick is a favorite among home cooks, mainly  because it’s juicy and easy to brown.You can also use chicken thighs,  to make this delicious mustard flavored stew—thickened with tangy crème fraîche—so that all the meat cooks at the same rate.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
4 medium chicken drumsticks
4 medium chicken thighs
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup finely shallots (or onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups dry white wine (or low sodium chicken broth)
1 Tablespoon whole-grain  Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
Crusty bread, for serving

 

Directions:

In a large skillet,  heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the butter to the skillet. Season the chicken drumsticks and thighs with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the skillet by adding the wine (or broth) and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the crème fraîche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the sauce and warm over low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. To serve family style,  place the drumsticks and thighs on a large platter and spoon the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle with the fresh tarragon. Serve with a good crusty, rustic bread.

Et voilà!

Cook’s Notes:

The stew can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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Scotch Quail Eggs

Proper Scotch eggs with lovely Scottish cheese and pickle

Photo Credit: Jamie Oliver, 2015

I am totally obsessed with the “Outlander” series of novels by Diana Gabaldon as much as I am about food and cooking. As with all of the books, the types of foods eaten by the fictional characters are often mentioned and in the 7th novel in the series, “An Echo In the Bone” mentions Scotch eggs in Chapter 74.

I have seen them before and they reminded me of a meatloaf with a boiled egg encased in ground meat. I never tried one, but after seeing them occasionally on cooking shows and eventually reading the Outlander books, my culinary curiosity went into overdrive…….

The London department store Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented Scotch eggs in 1738, but they may have been inspired by the Mughlai dish nargisi kofta or “Narcissus meatballs” once served from the Imperial Kitchens of Maharajas of India and were are composed  of minced or ground meat—usually beef, pork or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onion. For the most part, koftas are still a popular dish in Afghan, Arab,  Indian,Palestinian, Iranian, Jordanian, Kurdish, Moroccan, Pakistani, Romanian, Lebanese, and Turkish cuisines.

Given the origins of the Scotch egg, it would have most likely been influenced by Indian cuisine, since The British first arrived in India in the early 1600s and soon established trading posts in a number of cities under the control of The East India Company. By 1765 the Company’s influence had grown to such an extent that the British were effectively controlling most parts of the country.

The earliest printed recipe for Scotch eggs first  appeared in the 1809 edition of Mrs. Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery. Mrs. Rundell—and later 19th-century authors—served them hot, with gravy.

In these modern times, Scotch eggs are a common picnic food. In the United Kingdom packaged Scotch eggs are commonly available in supermarkets, corner shops and motorway service stations. Miniature versions are also widely available, sold as “savoury eggs”, “picnic eggs”, “party eggs”, “snack eggs”, “egg bites” or similar. These contain chopped egg or a quail’s egg, rather than a whole chicken egg, and sometimes contain mayonnaise or chopped bacon.

In the United States, many “British-style” pubs and eateries serve Scotch eggs, usually served hot with dipping sauces such as ranch dressing, hot sauce, or hot mustard sauce. At the Minnesota State Fair Scotch eggs are served on a stick. Scotch eggs are available at most Renaissance Festivals from Maryland to Texas.

Not fully committed to using full sized chicken eggs, I opted to use quail eggs for this recipe. And I must say, the results were spectacular!

Makes About A Dozen Eggs

Ingredients:
12  quail eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1 pound good quality bulk pork sausage
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 sprig fresh rosemary , leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 sprig fresh sage , leaves picked and very finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh chives , finely chopped
1 small bunch fresh parsley , leaves picked and finely chopped
1 whole nutmeg , for grating
Vegetable oil, for frying
English mustard

Directions:
Fill a pot two-thirds full of water and bring to a gentle boil. Gently add the quail eggs. Do not over crowd the pot and continue to boil for 4 to 5 minutes for hard boiled eggs. Remove the eggs from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and immediately plunge into ice cold water. Peel when cold.

scotcheggs-1

Put the sausage meat into another bowl with the herbs, paprika,a good grating of nutmeg, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.Gently mix until combined.Divide sausage into 12 equal portions.

Place flour in a wide shallow bowl and panko in another wide shallow bowl. Pat 1 portion of sausage into a thin patty over the length of your palm. Lay an egg on top of sausage and wrap sausage around egg, sealing to completely enclose. Repeat with remaining sausage and eggs.

Whisk your large egg in a medium bowl to blend. Working gently with 1 sausage-wrapped egg at a time, dip eggs into flour, shaking off excess, then coat in egg wash. Roll in panko to coat.

Place the coated eggs on a plate and store  in the refrigerator, uncovered for 1 to 2 hours.

Attach a deep-fry thermometer to side of a heavy pot. Pour in oil to a depth of 2 inches and heat over medium heat to 375°F. Fry eggs, turning occasionally and maintaining oil temperature of 350°F, until sausage is cooked through and breading is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes.

Photo Credit: I AM A FOOD BLOG.COM, 2015

Use a slotted spoon to transfer eggs to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Serve warm with mustard.