Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Breasts with Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce

*Post by Angela.
Right now, I have 5 huge, hard-covered cookbooks on my living room table (plus a handful of cooking magazines).  Every week, Mark and I salivate over the gorgeous photos in these cookbooks, picking out recipes we'd like to make/think we could handle making.  Yet every time I cook, I find myself running to the Internets (all hail the Internets!) to find recipes.  I think it's mostly due to the fact that most recipes I find online (especially those from allrecipes or recipezaar) have suggestions and alterations posted from people who have actually made the recipes; it might also be because I can no longer read anything that isn't on a computer screen.  Whatever the reason, I've decided to make a very, very belated New Year's resolution (maybe an April Fool's Day resolution?  That makes no sense) to use my cookbooks more, and decided to try another recipe from my Williams-Sonoma cookbook - with my own little spin, of course - chicken breasts with whole-grain mustard sauce.  The result was juicy, tender chicken with a pleasantly piquant and creamy sauce that's versatile enough to use on the protein of your choice. 

Click below to get the recipe!

List of ingredients for the chicken & mustard sauce:
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 shallot, finely minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp. whole-grain mustard

I'm not a huge chicken breast fan.  I usually prefer dark meat, as I think it's more flavorful, and doesn't dry out as quickly.  But there is one way that I love making chicken breasts: pounding them thin, coating them with flour, then pan-frying them in a combination of butter and oil (the original calls for sauteeing the chicken, unbreaded, but that is not how I do).  The flour coating and the quick cook time seals the juices in the meat and virtually guarantees you moist, tender chicken.

First, I placed each breast in a plastic bag and pounded it until it was about 1/4-1/2 inch thick.  The important thing is to make sure that the meat is pounded to a consistent thickness, so that it cooks evenly.  That being said, the thinner you pound the meat, the quicker it cooks.  I ended up cutting each piece in half to better fit in the pan.

Next, I put the flour in a container with a generous helping of salt and pepper (maybe a couple of tsp. each) and dredged each piece of chicken in the mixture.

I heated the butter and oil together in the pan over medium high heat.

Once the foam subsided, I added the chicken, cooking about 4-5 minutes per side (until golden brown and cooked through).

I removed the chicken to a plate and covered it with foil.  Then I started on the mustard sauce.

I returned the pan to medium heat and added the minced shallots, cooking them until softened, about 3-4 minutes.

I added the wine and whisked, making sure to get all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.  I simmered until the wine had reduced down to about 3 tbsp., about 5 minutes.

I stirred in the cream and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Then I brought the mixture to a boil and cooked about 3-4 minutes, whisking constantly, until the sauce was sufficiently thickened.  I also threw in about a tsp. of flour to help out (with the thickening).

Finally, I removed the pan from the heat and whisked in the mustard until the sauce was smooth.

I served this with some leftover mashed potatoes.  While my first chicken recipe from this cookbook didn't turn out quite the way I wanted it to, the easy-peasy and deliciously tangy mustard sauce more than made up for it - I can see serving this with any number of things, fish, pork, steak, vegetables...  Mark, who claimed he wasn't that hungry when he showed up for dinner, begged for a second helping.  The Great Cookbook Experiment of 2010 is off to a great start!


  1. I have SO MANY cookbooks, yet I pretty much cook out of the same one or two (and recipes from the internet) all the time. We actually said just last night we needed to crack open the other cookbooks and try some new recipes.

  2. I need to get in on my birthday cookbooks, too! We've just been so busy, I haven't been cooking as much.

  3. That is so funny -- I just made this recipe last week! I love that cookbook. I like cookbooks with 3-ring binder styles so you can remove the recipe. Makes it easy. This recipe is great for a quick weeknight meal.

  4. Oh, I loved this recipe! I just started making recipes out of this cookbook - any recommendations, Adrienne?