Friday, March 9, 2012

Poulet Dijonnaise

It took me a long time to come to grips with the idea that when hosting guests for dinner, most of the meal should be done ahead of time.  This way, the food is largely prepared and the mess is cleaned up, and as the hostess you can focus on your guests.  This is a key component of French entertaining for sure, and I can remember many nights in Paris arriving for dinner and wondering “How does she do that?”  Well, that’s one of the secrets, though of course in France there is also usually a fresh component, nothing over-boiled or tired.  

For my family, I tend to prepare more elaborate and last-minute menus, though as it takes several hours for everyone to arrive, debrief, unwind, and experience multiple plates of the meal, that is usually fine.  Lately though, I have been making more “make ahead” meals, also with my budget in mind.  There are several classic French dishes which are baked or stewed and “made-ahead” that I want to show you.

One of the great French food combinations is Dijon Mustard & White Wine.  If you have ever had Lapin Dijonnaise in France, you will know what I mean, but in the States I don’t serve rabbit.  And why not adapt the recipe for Chicken?

Dijonnais of course refers to the Mustard in the recipe.  There are oh so many ways to make this dish, but this is a simple one and the one I make in Beaune.  Hope you will give this a try~

You will need:

3-4 skinless chicken breasts or whole chicken legs
3 Bay leaves
3 Shallots
a small handful of Thyme (fresh, or else a tablespoon of dried)
1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil (any kind of vegetable oil)
1 bottle of inexpensive dry white wine
Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper

Additional Potatoes or Carrots or other veggies for sides

Start with a handful of aromatics: I use bay leaf, thyme and shallot; chop the shallots roughly~


Throw them in a covered casserole pot; I also used the last of some rather tired carrots; slice up and throw them in your pot if you have them, not required~


Prepare the chicken with salt and pepper; add the tablespoon of butter and oil to a frying pan; brown the meat slightly and set aside to cool~


Prepare the coating for the chicken~  In a bowl, place four slightly rounded teaspoons of flour and add to that four tablespoons of white wine.  No need for anything fancy, just as long as it is not sweet; this is California Meridian brand wine.  When guests come over and drink one glass of white wine, I recork the bottle (don’t tell) and use it in something like this.


Add six heaping teaspoons of Dijon Mustard~


Stir it all up and you get a mustard paste~


This summer I can’t wait to finally visit the mustard factory in Beaune.  You can buy this brand worldwide, and I buy it in these great stone crocks at our grocery store in Beaune for just a few Euros; I use the pots later for flowers~


Using a pastry brush, coat the chicken with the mustard paste; set the chicken on top of the herbs and veggies and pour the rest of the bottle of wine on top~


Cover, and bake at 350 degrees for about 1.5 hours.  This was perfect today as the meal cooked while I was on a conference call.  The mustard coating makes a nice crust, better on skinless chicken~


Tonight we had boiled potatoes and carrots with the dish; I like my veggies slightly underdone and a little crunchy, so that’s what my guests get too!  Boil the carrots and potatoes and arrange them on a platter; I got a little ahead of myself, placing one leg on the platter here~


Add the rest of your meat on top~


As I was taking this photo my guests were eating the stew veggies from the pot, so trust me nothing goes to waste; strain everything that was in the pot and boat the sauce~


Plated, it looked like this.  Great for a simple, make-ahead meal at a nice price.  There is something about the combination of the wine and the mustard, it doesn’t taste at all like mustard or wine, it is slightly sweet and…delicious.  There are variations where you add crème to this, but I prefer this lighter version.


Give it a try next time you need an easy meal and want something slightly different….

Tomorrow I am cooking again so more recipes to share.

Bon Week-end a tous~


  1. OK, you won't believe this, but I made a roast chicken with mustard/wine sauce just last night! It was more of an English take on it, with some white wine vinegar and heavy cream, but the idea was the same. And oh so delicious!

  2. Andrea,
    My son, Jay gave me a red Le Creuset oven for Christmas. He is coming home for a visit next week. I am going to make this while he is here!
    He will love it!
    Thank you!

  3. Pamela, I love any British counterparts to this dish, and Lynne, the Le Creuset will be perfect for making it; hope you will give it a try!

  4. Thank you, I will make your Dijon chicken today! Sounds delish with the dijon/ wine. We love mustard, and are always trying out diff kinds.
    I am jealous about your easy access to those lovely musterd crocs, they are my "thing" I love to
    keep too. I even use them on my desk with scissors,pencils etc..I found some Moutarde Royale (with Cognac ) in a black croc, with gold wax seal from Nanteulles les Meaux ... Superb and gorgeous keeper jar..
    Have a lovely weekend
    Colette x

  5. My kind of cooking Andrea. Have never tried mustard on chicken but delicious and I will give it a try. Thank you for this beautiful and healthy recipe.

  6. Andrea, this is wonderfully prepared and presented; as always. I have not tried this sauce and the combination sounds so good! I love the mustard jars from France.

    Art by Karena

  7. OOOH this one is a keeper!!!!!!!!!!!Looks delicious.......Maryanne xo

  8. I can almost smell this fabulous comforting meal! I am trying this for sure! Oh delicious!!! Please come by StoneGable and join us for ON THE MENU MONDAY with this yummy french dish. Site goes up Sunday at 8:00 PM!
    I can't wait to make this.... excellent tutorial!

  9. I had to refrain from licking the screen.

    Mr. Decor is on his way home. As he sat in the airport we talked about making Corned Beef, Irish soda bread all washed down with some cold Irish beer. We sure love our food. :)

  10. Dear Yvonne, just started following and am excited about the possibilities....pulled out chicken for sup tonight and will definetly try this! Looks and sounds delicious, my type of meal! Have passed this link on to my sister who is more a foodie than me! I love your market baskets and shall take a look! N.xo

  11. I am going to try this, looks devine.
    The French language is so beautiful.
    Think about it ---- on a menu
    Chicken and mustard or "Poulet Dejonnaise"
    They could make "you are arrested" sound beautiful.
    I know I am silly.

  12. Looks delicous Andrea, adding to my recipe list.
    Talk soon,

  13. When you said mustard and white wine in the same sentence, I started drooling! I have only been to Beaune once and I returned with wine... I should have bought the mustard in those darling crocks.

    I think I will try your recipe without the cream as you suggested. Merci beaucoup!


  14. Hi, Andrea!

    I saw this post and made the dish on Sunday evening--C'est magnifique!

    Merci beaucoup!