Inexpensive and easy, this is arguably the most popular recipe from The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. You can make this dish with a whole cut-up chicken, but it’s well suited to bone-in chicken thighs. This dish pairs nicely with simple green beans. In cold weather, I add in cream for a richer dish. Shallots add a nice touch, but you certainly don’t need them.
2 ½ pounds (1 kg) chicken pieces, preferably dark meat
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon butter
3 shallots, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 ¼ cup)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup (75 ml) brandy (optional)
2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock
Four or five sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
2/3 cup (150 ml) heavy cream (optional)
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard (in addition to above)
Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 180°C degrees. Sprinkle the meat with salt, pepper and dried thyme. Dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven large enough to hold all the ingredients comfortably, heat the oil over medium heat. Sear the meat in batches until browned on both sides. Remove meat from the pan and drain the oil. Using a pastry brush or the back of a spoon, paint a generous coat of mustard atop each piece, set aside.
Over medium heat in the same pan, melt a tablespoon of butter. Add the shallots and onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic. Add the brandy and chicken stock, and simmer until slightly reduced. Add the bouquet garni. Return the chicken or rabbit pieces to the pan. Cover and cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 160°F / 75°C degrees (for both rabbit and chicken). Remove the meat and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Put the pan on medium heat and bring the pan juices to a simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly reduced, skimming off any fat from the surface. (Rabbit is oilier than chicken and will require significant skimming.) Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of mustard and the cream and let simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Once thickened, pour sauce through a fine mesh sieve, pressing it through with a spatula to get as much liquid as possible. Check seasonings and adjust, adding salt and pepper if needed. Spoon the sauce over the chicken or rabbit pieces. Serves six.