Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chicken Dijon ~ Poulet à la Moutarde

Poulet à la Moutarde, better known in this country as Chicken Dijon, has been a menu staple in our home for as long as I’ve been cooking. It’s a simple bistro style dish staring sharp, tangy Dijon mustard.

There is always a bottle of Dijon mustard in our refrigerator. It’s one of the things I never let myself run out of, just as in the case of mayonnaise, anchovies, capers, and other “can’t live without” condiments.

Our favorite brand of Dijon mustard is Maille, the one with the black label and lid. They have been making Dijon mustard for 260 years. Maille mustard is so famous in France that they have two boutiques if you can believe it – one in Paris and one in the city of Dijon. Maille also make flavored mustards, but our favorite is the traditional Originale. You would not want to use one of the flavored mustards in this dish. But the supermarket brand Grey Poupon, or “poo-poo” mustard as Meakin called it when he was a boy, will more than suffice if you can’t get your hands on the Maille brand.

This is an easy French dish which requires little in the way of skills compared to some of the older recipes for Chicken Dijon. I can remember having to temper the two eggs that went into the dish. As a young cook, my egg tempering skills weren’t all that great. That recipe came from The Art of French Cooking by Fernande Garvin, a long out of print little paperback originally published in 1958. Sometimes used copies can be picked up for a song at Amazon. My 1965 edition is stained and the yellowed pages are falling apart from use, but I wouldn’t part with it for anything. There are too many good memories in that book.

James Beard always served roasted chicken on a bed of watercress as I’ve done with this chicken and there’s a reason why he did that. Roasted chicken is rich and the crispy tang of watercress is the perfect foil for that richness. The sauce acts like a dressing if you will with the watercress and smoothes the dish. Oven roasted crispy potatoes would make a delicious side to the watercress. I added the red tomatoes for color.

I present to you the very easy French dish ~ Poulet à la Moutarde

Chicken Dijon ~ Poulet à la Moutarde
From Bon Appétit – serves 4

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small leeks, white and pale-green parts only, rinsed & thinly sliced, ½ cup
½ cup minced onion, approximately 1 small onion
4 small garlic cloves, minced
2 cups low-salt, low fat chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup good Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme, plus thyme leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Watercress for serving

Season chicken breasts with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook until brown on both sides, 12-15 minutes total. Transfer to a plate, tent with foil to keep warm, and set aside.

Place leeks and onion in same skillet and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, wine, Dijon mustard, and minced thyme and bring to a simmer. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Transfer chicken to plates and tent with foil to keep chicken warm. Bring liquid in skillet to a boil; cook until sauce is thickened and glossy, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Taste and season if necessary with more salt and pepper. Place watercress alongside the chicken, spoon sauce over the chicken, and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

The table is set and ready. Bon Appétit!

Have a great weekend.


  1. What a beautiful and simple recipe. I always learn something new here. Love the idea of the bed of watercress and the sauce as a dressing! YUMMY! I'm making this!! I still have leek from the garden to use!
    Pretty table too!

  2. I love dishes made with mustard, this sounds great! Your table setting is very pretty and inviting too:@)

  3. You have exactly our taste in seasoning. I am pinning this chicken we love mustard sauces.

  4. Wonderful recipe, indeed!

    Maille is also my favorite mustard, but I confess that I like Grey Poupon (remember the commercial "Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?" *smile*).
    Grey Poupon has quite an interesting history, stretching from France to the USA: Maison de Grey to Grey Poupon .

    1. Sorry, I meant to say that I also like Grey Poupon.

  5. I spy your Himalayan salt too..I enjoy that one so much..if only for it's beauty:)

    It's not poopoo salt:)
    We like Maille too..but I am a sucker for the jars w/ rubber and i often gravitate towards that one..I put pantry things in them..Forget the name..
    I never knew watercress was such a good match..thanks for the tip..Last night we had an chicken breast salad on a bed of Arugula and mixed greens..My favorite friend's recipe..
    Sam thank you for this I will add it to my repertoire..
    I love my old books too....

  6. this looks so good book marked and love your table decor

  7. I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken, this looks perfect for my picky family.

  8. I swear, I think your presentations just keep getting better - It looks like each of the spinach leaves and tomato pieces were placed just so. Plus, the dish sounds delicious.

  9. I love your chicken dijon! I like to use Maille brand too, have been before I even really knew how to cook well. I am glad I saw your last lovely photo...I have a Himalayan pink salt block and grater...and really didn't know how to use it at the table, good idea.

  10. We use a similar recipe but I'm definitely going to try this one. Great fall recipe.

  11. Hello Sam

    This looks scrumptious and I am adding it to my list.

    Thank you for this. I had been looking for a boneless chicken breast recipe

    Helen xx

  12. Sam, this looks scrumptious with mustard sauce. I would love this with a big portion of salad.

  13. This sounds delish, I am also never without Dijon mustard in the house :-) Keep well Diane

  14. Sam, I am officially starving. This dish looks DELICIOUS. I love digjon mustard, and I love it with chicken. YUM.



  15. This looks delicious and I love the use of the leeks. I have always used Grey Poupon BUT will make a point of trying the Maille the next time I need to stock up. I too am never without Dijon mustard, definitely a staple in my house.

    Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

  16. What a beautiful presentation of a delicious sounding dish. I love your tablescape too. Love getting a peek it your house.

  17. This is a keeper for me as we have a selection of poultry once a week. I have been gone too much lately to cook but I did prepare your lemon/roasted carrot arugula salad this week - I love it!

    While I was in Paris last week we had cheese grits (or close to it)topped with julienne vegetables and grilled shrimp - miam-miam! I thought about you and knew that you would approve!


  18. This is certainly not my mother's Dijon Chicken (with canned chicken soup) that she served to her Mah Jong ladies for years. In her defense, she was southern and fried chicken was her specialty! Your recipe looks comforting and delicious.


  19. I love this and will be doing it - it's a wee bit different than my recipe. Love the Maille mustard and that it is so accessible. Pairing it with watercress is perfect. And Sam - loving the autumn table.

  20. Hi Sam,
    What a lovely dish to serve on your beautiful fall table. Thank you so much for sharing your awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great weekend and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  21. Dijon is always in my fridge. I love the simplicity of this dish, and Dijon is one of my favorite ways to flavor a pan sauce. I never buy watercress, and I now I have a good reason to try it. Looks beautiful, Sam.

  22. I am never without Dijon mustard also! The flavor enhances so many dishes. This sounds truly delicious, Sam!!

  23. This recipe sounds delicious. I love mustard and am always looking for different specialty mustards. This sounds like a wonderful dish.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

  24. A perfect and tasty pairing! That is a mouthwatering recipe.



  25. This is exactly what I'm making next time I'm home with a coupla chicken breasts:).

  26. That looks wonderful, Sam. With the exception of being able to find watercress for sale, the whole thing looks easy!

  27. Had to go look to see which mustard I had in the fridge! :) Yep...the right one. (Things are a bit unsettled in my kitchen, as you can imagine.)
    I'm marking this chicken dish as one to try, Sam. In fact, I'm amazed I've never made it. Looks wonderful.

  28. Beautiful - a classic dish! Dijon is one of my favorites, too, and like you, there's always a jar in the refrigerator.

  29. What a classic chicken favourite - yum!

  30. The down side to grilling all the time is that I miss out on awesome pan sauces like this one.

  31. Beautiful presentation and the fall table setting is delightful! Thank you for your share!

  32. This is one of my favorite staples!! Yum! Thanks for sharing at Foodtastic Friday!

  33. This looks delicious, Sam. I've pinned it to try later. And your autumn table is beautiful.

  34. Such a wonderful chicken recipe, love the way you've served it up on a bed of watercress, looks just perfect;-)

  35. this is a great recipe. easy, healthy and yummy!!

  36. HI, Sam!
    Lovely dishes here - so much to catch up on! I cannot believe I have never made Chicken Dijon! So elegant, delicious and pretty straight forward! I needed the reminding. Your table is pretty. Love finishing salts!


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