Parisian Dinner Party: Chicken a la Moutarde

Parisian Dinner Party: Chicken a la Moutarde

This recipe is part of a series about throwing a dinner party like a Parisian. Stay tuned all week to see how the entire soirée comes together. 

Happy MDW everyone! How are you spending the long weekend? I'm upstate in the Poconos, where I spent every summer as a kid. I'm a born-and-raised New Yorker, and I love the city; the insanity, the ripe opportunity at every corner. But I need a noise detox fairly often. I crave the quiet, the vast emptiness, and the greenery that mountains provide. And so here we are. Sitting around the TV, pondering our biggest question of the day: what's for dinner? 

I chose chicken a la moutarde because I love the complexity of the dijon mustard , and the subtle tartness that crème fraîche lends to the unctuous sauce . When planning parties, I limit the time-consuming dishes to one or two, max. I want the evening to feel special, but I don't want to be so exhausted by the time people come over that I'm ready for bed. And while this dish requires a few extra steps, you will be repaid handsomely for your efforts. Brown the chicken in the morning, make the sauce, and then leave it in the fridge until you're ready for dinner. By only roasting the chicken when guests arrive, two things happen: the meat tenderizes through marination, and the house becomes perfumed with the warm, earthy aroma of a roasted chicken. Have you ever heard about how real estate agents will bake cookies in homes they're trying to sell before a showing? Same principle here. When guests walk into a room and sip kir royales, hear Édith Piaf and smell roasted chicken, they can't help but be transported to the left bank. 

Chicken a la Moutarde
serves 6

1 whole cut-up chicken, preferably organic
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 cup dijon mustard
8 oz crème fraîche
2 large shallots, minced
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup of white wine
1/2 cup of chicken broth or water
2 bay leaves
light olive or frying oil of choice
salt + pepper

Directions:
Preheat a large cast-iron skillet with a generous glug of oil, until it is smoking hot. Turn the heat down to medium-high. Dry the chicken on paper towels, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place chicken skin side down in the skillet, and sear it until deeply golden (about 10 minutes). Flip over, and sear the other side. Once the chicken is nicely browned, move it into a large dish that is oven safe. I use a roasting pan which is super convenient because the entire chicken fits inside. 

Regardless which pan you use, make sure it has deep sides because we will be adding a good amount of liquid in to cover the chicken. After the chicken has moved out of the skillet, turn the heat down to medium. Add shallots, butter and wine. Deglaze the crusty and flavorful bottom bits, then add the remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Let this simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Pour the sauce over the chicken, and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Once it's not steaming, cover with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge until your guests arrive. Then remove the plastic, and pop it into the oven (450 degrees) for about an hour. The room will smell r i d i c u l o u s and the chicken will be freshly roasted! 

*Be sure that you are roasting the chicken skin side up. If you want to get it xtra krispy, turn the broiler on for a few minutes just before pulling it out of the oven. Make sure to let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. Also, pull the bay leaves out before putting the chicken on the table, or just avoid them as I do :) If you'd like some greenery, a big handful of chopped parsley will complement this dish nicely. 

Bon appetit mes amies! What are your favorite variations of roasted chicken? 

photos cannot be shared, downloaded or repurposed for any reason without written credit to Jane Poretsky + Be Like Family

Parisian Dinner Party: Gift Etiquette + Kir Royales

Parisian Dinner Party: Gift Etiquette + Kir Royales

Parisian Dinner Party: Easiest Beets with Pomegranate Arils

Parisian Dinner Party: Easiest Beets with Pomegranate Arils