This chicken with mustard recipe from David Lebovitz, made with chicken, mustard, thyme, and stock, is a classic French dish.
Many years ago, when prices were ridiculously low, I bought an enormous copper pan at E. Dehillerin, the famed cookware shop in Les Halles. This one-pot chicken with mustard recipe is a perfect fit for your largest, most extravagant pot.
This dish requires you to brown the chicken thighs and legs. Unless you have a very large skillet or Dutch oven, fry the chicken in batches—you want the pieces to have room to brown, not steam, which overcrowding creates. This dish is best served with a tangle of herbed fresh pasta, which is exactly the right vehicle for sopping up the delicious sauce.–David Lebovitz
LC Parlez-Vous Poulet? Note
The thing about chicken—or, as the French say, “poulet”—is that it’s only boring if you allow it to be. And far be it from the French to let anything be less than shamelessly fashionable. And so with this single recipe for poulet à la moutarde from Parisian David Lebovitz, you can assure anyone who asks “Parlez-vous poulet?” that yes, in fact, you do. Quite fluently.
Chicken with Mustard | Poulet à la Moutarde
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H
- Serves 4 to 6
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (optional)
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and 4 drumsticks (8 pieces total)
- 1 cup smoked thick-cut bacon, diced
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- Olive oil, for the pan
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
- 2 to 3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
- Warm water, as needed
- Chopped flat-leaf parsley or chives, for garnish
- 1. Mix 1/2 cup Dijon mustard in a bowl with the paprika, a few generous grinds of the peppermill, and the salt, if using. Toss the chicken pieces in the mustard mixture, lifting the chicken skin and rubbing some of the mustard mixture beneath. Set aside while you tend to the bacon and onion.
- 2. Heat a wide skillet with a lid or a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the bacon. Cook the bacon, stirring frequently, just until it’s sorta cooked through and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. [Editor’s Note: This is NOT crisping and rendering the bacon. It’s just cooking it till it softens.] Remove the bacon from the skillet and drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon bacon fat in the skillet, discarding the rest. [Editor’s Note: Oh, the horror! Don’t discard the bacon fat. Reserve it for another use, such as sautéing potatoes, frying eggs, gilding popcorn, whatever tickles your fancy.]
- 3. Add the onion to the bacon drippings in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent. Stir in the thyme and let cook for another few minutes, then scrape the cooked onion onto the bacon.
- 4. Add a little olive oil to the skillet, if necessary, and add the chicken pieces to the skillet in a single layer over medium-high heat. (If the pieces don’t all fit, cook them in 2 batches.) Brown them well on one side, then flip them over and brown them on the other side. It’s important to get the chicken nicely colored, as this coloring—as well as the darkened bits on the bottom of the skillet, called fond—will give the finished sauce its delicious flavor. Place the chicken pieces on the onions and bacon. Add the wine to the hot skillet, scraping the darkened bits off the bottom with a sturdy flat utensil. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet along with the bacon and onions. Cover and cook the chicken over low to medium heat, turning the pieces in the sauce a few times, until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 25 minutes. Check for doneness by sticking a knife into the meat next to the thigh bone; if the meat is red, continue cooking for a few more minutes.
- 5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the chicken to a platter and stir the remaining 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard, the mustard seeds or grainy mustard, and the crème fraîche or heavy cream into the pan drippings. If the sauce has reduced and is quite thick, you can thin it with a little warm water, adding a teaspoon or so at a time. Pour the sauce over the chicken, sprinkle chopped parsley over the top, and serve.