One of the only dishes my husband knows how to make is this sour cream and Dijon mustard roast chicken leg dish. And if you think that title is a mouthful, wait until you taste the chicken!
He sort of made the recipe up when he was a bachelor, although it doesn’t seem like he could have possibly made it up since it’s so French. It must be French with the fattening sauce you pour all over the rice.
He prepared it for me on our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple when we lived in a 2-bedroom apartment on Rivington Street in Lower Manhattan – near the F-train, which never runs.
So I’m making it for you in all its glory. It’s heavy and we don’t eat it often – luckily I know how to cook a few things as well – but we prepare it when we need a spot of comfort food on the table and some warmth in our bellies.
My photos show a doubled recipe portion because we were entertaining our friend Sissi and her boys that day. We’re friends from NY, but Sissi is French so we get to see them here from time to time.
To begin, pour a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet, and when it gets really hot, place 5 chicken legs (drumstick and thigh, although really you can also use one or the other) and let them sear on one side while you salt, pepper, and sprinkle Herbes de Provence or thyme on the other side. I don’t measure. Just sprinkle the quantity desired.
When one side is browned, flip the legs and sear the other side, adding more salt and herbs, but not pepper unless you like it spicy.
When both sides are browned, you can put it in a pan for the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C. Put a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the pan so the meat doesn’t stick and so that a gravy can form with the meat drippings. Maybe 1/4 cup water. Sorry – this is my husband’s recipe and is not exact.
Cook the chicken uncovered for at least 30 minutes. I needed 50 minutes because I was cooking all 10 at once.
In the meantime, use the skillet with the leftover drippings and sauté a chopped onion until brown.
Then add two heaping tablespoons of Dijon mustard
and a cup of sour cream. (Modify your recipe by adding more cream or less mustard according to taste). You can also reduce the sauce by half if you want, but it does taste awfully good on rice. If you’re looking for something to do with leftover sauce, just pour it over pasta.
I used crème fraiche instead of sour cream because that’s what we have here. Stir it over low heat until it melts.
When the chicken comes out of the oven, there should be some drippings / gravy / sauce at the bottom of the pan.
I poured that out and mixed it with the cream/ onion/ mustard sauce to get something more fluid. I coated the chicken with it and also ladled it over the rice.
We served our chicken with fried zucchini and summer squash, plus rice (of course), and we followed it with a salad like all good French people must do.
And that was our easy, tasty lunch, brainchild of my husband.
I’m sticking this post up late on Friday night because we’re going away this week, then my mom and her husband and my sister’s family will all come the week after that. It will also be back-to-school for the kids, and in perfect timing, the workers have declared their intention to begin the construction again that week as well.
So I’m anticipating chaos. Hopefully happy chaos.
My Regency novel is finished (sort of) and in the hands of my first beta readers who will hopefully whip out their red pens and improve it beyond measure. It’s a satisfying feeling – after four complete drafts – to have something with a beginning, a middle, and an end, and a fairly cohesive plot in between. I’m reminding myself to celebrate these accomplishments and not peddle frantically towards the next goal.
And you? Is summer winding up nicely for you? Chaos, happiness, or happy chaos?
- 5 chicken legs with drumstick and thigh (or just thighs but then use 10)
- thyme or herbes de Provence, salt, pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion
- 2 heaping tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 cup sour cream
- (serve with) rice and vegetable
- Preheat the oven to 425°F or 220°C.
- Put the oil in the skillet and let it get hot. Put the chicken legs in and sear on one side. Sprinkle the other with the salt, pepper and herbs.
- When one side is brown, flip over and sear the other side and sprinkle again with salt and herbs.
- Put the chicken legs in the oven, along with about ¼ cup water, and cook uncovered for 30 minutes. Check to make sure they are well-cooked and add time if you're making more chicken or reduce time if you're just cooking the thighs.
- Sauté a chopped onion in the skillet drippings.
- When the onion is brown, add the mustard and sour cream and let it melt.
- When you take the chicken out, use the drippings in the pan to liquify the sauce by adding it to the cream sauce.
- Serve piping hot, with a big spoonful of sauce over the rice, and with the vegetable on the side.
If you’d like to see more French recipes, click here to see my recipe index!