Dijon Chicken Stew

IMG_3419Mustard and I aren’t exactly the best of friends. You might say that our relationship has developed over time and — in many ways — we still maintain a love/hate balance that baffles many. There’s just something about that acidic, florescent yellow goop that has never quite been appealing to me. James and I keep a bottle of it in the door of our refrigerator for the occasions when he feels the urge to taste something vile.

Admittedly, part of my aversion to mustard hearkens back to days of childhood when I watched in curiosity as my older brother assembled for himself sandwiches of white bread, dill pickle slices, and yellow mustard. Being a fan of strange combinations, myself, it wasn’t really the sight of these sandwiches that traumatized me so much as the experience of riding in close quarters with him on road trips after he’d eaten about two of these “sandwiches” and washed them down with half of the “pickle juice” from the pickle jar. This was just another of the experiences that my younger brother missed out on since he was prone to motion sickness and held permanent reservations riding shotgun with mom.


Mustard and I had a more appealing albeit accidental introduction years later when a hapless waitress neglected my instructions to leave the dijon mustard off my chicken sandwich. At first I felt betrayed, but then I discovered that there was mustard beyond the mustard ‘n pickle sandwich realm… and I saw it… and I saw that it was good. Just saying it: dijon… See, it’s not ordinary mustard, it’s French!

I created today’s recipe by melding together a few soup and stew techniques and incorporating them into a more basic recipe. Chicken can be a tough stew ingredient — literally and figuratively. A lot of IMG_0454recipes lead you down a road of deception ending with rubbery, dry, or tasteless chicken bits in a flat-tasting soup. So, it took some digging to create a technique that would almost give you the feeling of having a juicy chicken sandwich in your soup bowl.

One of the keys to making chicken that stays tender and flavorful in a stew is to brown it before adding it to the pot. Another key is to use a good pot: I’m a big fan of cast iron cookware — especially for soups. Other than adding old world charm to your kitchen, cast iron has many benefits once you take the time to get to know it. IMG_0457Besides, I like the idea of iron leaching into my food way more than I do teflon or aluminum! But I digress, using boneless skinless chicken thighs is not only cheaper than chicken breasts, but it makes for a much deeper-tasting stew (not to mention juicier chicken pieces). Coating the chicken with the flour mixture (shake & bake style) not only makes for good browning and flavoring on the chicken pieces, but it helps add texture to the broth of the soup by thickening things up a bit.


Today’s recipe features the highly sophisticated flavors of not only dijon mustard, but also white wine. It’s a stew of snooty ambition, yet lowly and humble enough to be served for any occasion. It freezes well, too, so it’s perfect for a mid-week lunch when you don’t have time to make something fresh. Feel free to add the pickle ‘n mustard sandwiches if you’d like; just don’t tell me about it!

Dijon Chicken Stew
A Tales of Thyme & Place Original
Serves 6

    1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/4 teaspoon paprika
    1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, chopped
    2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    2 cups sliced leek or spring onions
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup dry white wine
    3 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 1/2 cups water
    2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled white potato – (about 1 pound)
    2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    1 bunch kale, washed and torn coarsely

    Place 1/3 cup flour and next 6 ingredients (salt through paprikas) in a large zip-top bag. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, seal, and shake to coat evenly. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 of the chicken pieces; cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove chicken and place in a medium bowl; repeat procedure with remaining chicken pieces; adding more oil if necessary.

    After removing second batch of chicken pieces, heat remaining oil and add leek; sauté 3-5 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown. Add garlic; sauté about 30 seconds.

    Add wine to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Combine 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon flour, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add broth mixture, remaining 2 cups broth, water, potatoes, and mustard to pan. Add additional salt and pepper to taste; bring to a boil. Stir in chicken mixture and kale; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are fully tender.



~ by Jason on June 19, 2010.

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