Chicken with Leeks and Creamy Dijon Sauce

The secret to getting great results with this recipe is to use only a sparing amount of mustard, just enough to make the mustard noticeable but not so much as to be overpowering. You should add it little by little until you get a taste that you like. For a variation you can substitute lamb chops in place of the chicken for another great dish, and in fact Lamb Chops with Leeks was my original recipe.

4 chicken breast fillets, skinless, boneless
    or 8 chicken thighs, skinless, bone in
2-3 large leeks, julienned
1-2 C. flour
1 t. basil
1 t. sage
1 t. rosemary
1 t. thyme
1 C. white wine (as required)
1-2 T. Dijon mustard (to taste)
1/2 C. cream
salt, pepper, flour, oil, cornstarch

Grind the basil, sage, rosemary and thyme using a mortar and pestle. These spices are not critical so you can substitute any similar spices or use herbs de province as a time saver. Season the flour with salt and pepper, then roll the chicken pieces in the mixture to coat them. Discard the flour.

Wash the leeks after cutting off the roots and the ratty ends of the green tops, then julienne the white and greenish-white parts. (See picture.) Cut off the tops and roots, cut each leek down the middle longitudinally, then slice diagonally. Dirt often collects at the bases of the leaves so be careful to discard or wash these parts.

(picture of julienned leeks)

Heat some oil in a frying pan over medium heat, then add the chicken pieces and sauté them until they are lightly browned on both sides. Reduce the heat a bit and add the leeks and spices. Pour the wine over the chicken, sprinkle some fresh ground pepper on top, to taste, then quickly cover the pan and adjust the heat to simmer. You can substitute stock for the wine, or part stock and part wine, but I like wine the best. Simmer on medium-low for about 30 to 40 minutes, turning the pieces occasionally so that they won't get burned. Add more wine or stock as necessary to keep the pan mixture from drying out.

When the chicken is cooked and tender remove the pieces from the pan and keep them warm in an oven. Reduce the heat and add the cream and about a tablespoon of mustard. Stir until the leek and cream mixture is smooth, adding a bit more mustard from time to time until you like the taste. The key to this recipe is getting just the right amount of mustard. Since peoples' tastes vary, only you can be the judge of how much mustard is just right.

Season the the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, then pour it over the chicken and serve. I recommend serving this dish with brown or white rice and some vegetables. Makes 4 servings.

Notes:

If your sauce is too thin, mix a bit of water and cornstarch, pour some of the sauce into the cornstarch mixture and stir it, then return the mixture to the sauce and mix. Repeat if necessary. The sauce must be at a high simmer while you are doing this.

I had always wondered, why leeks? They're just big green onions, so why not use some other onion? So I cooked this recipe using a brown onion diced into large squares. It turned out that it just didn't taste the same, it wasn't as good. The leeks have a slightly bitter taste while the brown onions are sweet. The slightly bitter taste of the leeks somehow goes very well with the sharp taste of the mustard. The two tastes compliment each other. This recipe definitely needs leeks and now we know why!

Credit: My own original recipe.

Filed under Poultry   Tagged chicken, signature, dinner