One of the techniques I walked away with from French culinary school was how to make a pan sauce from all the tasty browned bits left in the pan after searing meat. Combined with a few très French ingredients, like shallots, white wine, and two kinds of mustard, this braised chicken dish has all my French favorites: tender chicken with super-crispy skin sitting on top of a comforting-yet-elegant mustardy pan sauce. And believe it or not, it comes together in just about 30 minutes in one skillet, making you the hero of the weeknight dinner, mon ami.
Why two kinds of mustard?
You’re probably wondering why you need two kinds of mustard for this dish. Whole-grain mustard helps flavor the chicken while it’s cooking, and creamy Dijon is whisked in at the end to thicken and emulsify the sauce and add a bit of acidity and salt.
The final crowning ingredient here is just a touch of cream. It really brings the sauce together, transforming it into something that begs to be swiped up with a crusty baguette. I recommend cooking this with a good wine (read: one you would want to drink), as a glass of crisp, cold white is just the thing you’d have with this chicken while sitting on the banks of the Seine in Paris.
Skillet Creamy French Mustard Chicken
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes to 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes to 35 minutes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup diced shallots (2 medium shallots)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, sear the chicken.
Heat the oil in a large cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken skin-side down to the pan and sear until the fat is rendered and the skin is crisp and golden-brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken skin-side up to a large plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.
Add the shallots to the pan and cook over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine, scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and cook until evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the broth and whole-grain mustard and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken skin-side up, and add any juices accumulated on the plate to the pan.
Braise in the oven uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken with tongs to a platter. Place the pan over medium-high heat, whisk the smooth Dijon mustard into the sauce, and simmer until reduced slightly, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed. Serve the sauce with the chicken (we recommend serving it underneath the chicken to keep the skin crisp), and garnish with parsley if desired.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Christine Gallary graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France, and she has worked at Cook's Illustrated and CHOW.com. She lives in San Francisco and loves teaching cooking classes. Follow her latest culinary escapades on Instagram.