I can’t believe it: this blog is now one year old. One whole year! Wow, what have I been doing with myself? Well, I mean, I’ve been doing quite a lot. Along with chronicling my cooking I’ve balanced two jobs, researched/applied/got into graduate school, aced a Biochemistry class, began training as a crisis counselor, devoured a mountain of books, and joined two gyms (one climbing, one traditional)…but still, a whole year?! I need to find some way to slow down this crazy ride at least a little bit if I’m ever going to remember anything, haha.
I’m wondering what this next year will look like. Once school begins my life will be, if nothing else, more predictable. More challenging for sure, but the idea of a steady schedule is like a breath of fresh air to me now. I may have less time for cooking and blogging, but I’ll make work! A gal’s still gotta eat and this gal will never go back to cafeteria food…well, maybe just once… if they have those truly horrendous but terribly delicious french toast sticks – but you didn’t just read that. Moving on!
Looking back, I’d like to think my first year here on this tiny speck of webspace has been a success. I’ve been able to share recipes with family members across the country, contribute to a homemade cookbook being put together in Canada, and find my favorites time and time again just by bringing my laptop downstairs with me. I’m hoping that, with time, my most frequently tapped recipes will become committed to memory and I’ll become one of those people. You know the kind (and if you’re lucky, you are one already): those who can saunter into a kitchen, snatch a few items with nary a glance, and mix up a miracle dish. The pros. Well, for better or worse, I’ll keep at it and maybe get there someday. Thank you for sharing this first year with me and I look forward to going through even more adventures with you all! 🙂
Dijon Chicken (from Smitten Kitchen)
thighs, breasts, and wings of 1 chicken* (or, if you’re squeamish, about 3 lbs. chicken parts)
1 T vegetable oil
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
¾ C dry white wine
¾ C reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ C heavy cream
2 T smooth Dijon mustard
1 T finely chopped chives
salt to taste
* Note: If you’re a chicken-butchering virgin like I was, this video is very helpful. Just go slow and relax. It is trickier than he makes it look, but still easier than you might think!
- Pat chicken dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy skillet (if you have an oven-proof one, fantastic. If not, you’ll just have to transfer later) over Medium-high heat until it shimmers. In batches, brown the chicken starting with the skin-side down and flipping only once about 5 minutes in. Deb recommends patience with this step, letting the skin “release itself” and waiting until it has a “nice bronze color to it”. In retrospect, I should have browned mine longer. In between batches of chicken, preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Place all chicken skin-side up in a roasting pan (or back onto your oven-proof skillet) and roast until just cooked through – about 20 minutes. If transferring chicken, save your skillet for the next step.
- Transfer chicken to a platter and pour any juices back onto the skillet. Add shallots, wine, and broth to skillet and boil while scraping up the brown bits til reduced by half – about 3 minutes. Add cream and continue to boil until you’ve reached the desired consistency (I let it boil for another 3 minutes about, I like my sauces thick).
- Remove sauce from heat and – if you want a perfectly smooth consistency – pour it through a strainer into a bowl. Not wanting to miss out on those delicious chunks of shallot, I left mine as it was. Lastly, whisk in mustard, chives, and salt to taste. Pour over chicken and serve!
After my experience with Chicken with Fennel and Tomatoes and Chicken Mole, I had no doubt that I would love another recipe with bone-in chicken. I’ve had honey-mustard chicken before, but never Dijon and I felt like this must be the grown-up equivalent of a childhood classic. After sharing this feast with my brother and dad, we all agreed we knew exactly why Deb calls this her “new favorite chicken dish”: this tangy-sweet sauce will be the highlight of your week! It will make you wonder why on earth anyone would bother dressing chicken in anything else, because you certainly don’t intend to ever again. The meat is incredibly juicy and even dark-meat lovers like me will think a piece of white chicken breast is a little slice of heaven. My brother and I licked our plates clean. My dad probably would have too, if he hadn’t been repulsed by the little piggies sitting next to him, haha. I beg you: try this recipe!
Overall Enjoyment: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥