Chicken with Whole Grain Mustard and Sage
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I actually put on makeup today, for the first time in more weeks than I can count. My obsession with learning how to blog has left me living in my jammie pants and looking like something the cat dragged in. This, from the woman who once said, if she could bring one thing before being stuck on a deserted island, it would be mascara. Yeah, I’m not exaggerating. Long before I was married, I planned on getting up before my husband got up in the morning so he wouldn’t have to see me without makeup. No, I’m really not kidding. But then, I was raised by a 50’s mom who made us “dress for dinner” and wear white gloves when we went into San Francisco for the day. What a laugh! Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Country living has changed me in other ways. I don’t freak out (too much) when a bat gets past my husband’s “bat screens” in the summer and goes zooming around the ceiling. It doesn’t happen often, thank goodness. You should have seen Bill one night last summer, trying to bat one down (pun intended) with a badminton racket. Maybe I could make some money by inventing a “bat-minton” racket. Ha ha. Well, it didn’t work that well, anyway. But watching him run around with that thing was good for quite the laugh. The more he swung, the more frustrated he got. Not sure he found it all that entertaining, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. There’s some YouTube video featuring a man in Ireland trying to capture a bat in his house. You should check it out – it’s hysterical.
Back in the day, there was a sort of cult following of stay-at-home moms who all owned The I Hate to Cook Book. It was written by a gal named Peg Bracken, and I honestly think it was my mom’s bible. Looking back, I can see exactly where she was coming from. No dishwasher, cloth diapers, 4 kids, school events, every day, all day. She always served a nice dinner but I think she secretly did hate cooking. (This cookbook is hysterical. This is a quote from it: “This book is for those of us who want to fold our big dishwater hands around a dry Martini instead of a wet flounder, come the end of a long day.”) That may seem politically incorrect to the modern, young generations, but hey, it was the sort of irreverent wit I grew up with and loved. Still do love it, in fact. If you’d like to check it out, here’s an Amazon link. http://amzn.to/2h5H4PW I’m thinking of getting myself another copy, just for the laughs.
Bon Appetit had this to say about The I Hate to Cook Book: “One of the instructions for “Skid Road Stroganoff” reads, “Brown the garlic, onion, and crumbled beef in the oil. Add the flour, salt, paprika, and mushrooms, stir, and let cook five minutes while you light a cigarette and stare sullenly at the sink.” The book was for women who were cynical about homemaking—women who wanted to get their requisite chores done as quickly as possible so that they could move onto the good stuff, like reading the New Yorker and writing novels and drinking Manhattans.”
I remember one time my mother, who was on a VERY tight budget, must have endured a little criticism from my dad about the grocery bills. So, one night for dinner she made a standing rib roast out of hot dogs! She tied up all the standing hot dogs around something or other and served it on a platter to my dad. The silence around the table was something I’ll never forget. That gal did have a wry sense of humor.
My last 32 years resembled my mom’s, except I’ve never used a cloth diaper in my life and my kids all had their own tv’s in their rooms. At one point, I just caved and bought the tv’s because I was sick and tired of their constant bickering. And because I couldn’t blame my 10 year old for not wanting to watch “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”
Anyway, not sure how I got off on that tangent, but that’s just how my brain works.
This recipe is really good and easy and, unlike Peg Bracken’s, doesn’t involved any Cream of Anything. If you use chicken tenders, it cooks up in a matter of minutes, so shorten the times given below. This recipe came from Food Network Kitchens, but I’ve renamed it.
Chicken with Whole Grain Mustard and Sage
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Kosher salt and black pepper
Flour, for dredging
2 T olive oil
1-4 T butter, optional
½ c white wine or dry white vermouth (NOT sweet!)
1 ½ c chicken broth
8 medium whole fresh sage leaves or about 1 teaspoon, dried
1 ½ T whole grain mustard
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for about 1 minute. While the pan heats, pat the chicken dry, and season with salt and pepper. Put a few spoonfuls of flour on a pie plate, and lightly coat the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess, so it won’t be gummy.
Turn the temperature to medium-high. Add the oil to the pan and carefully lay the chicken in the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add 1 Tablespoon butter to the pan and turn the chicken over.
Cook the breasts another 5 to 8 minutes, or until firm to the touch. (Even better, use an instant read thermometer and remove from pan when 165° internally. Remove to a pan and keep warm while you make the sauce. This thermometer is the one I got off of Amazon, and I love it! http://amzn.to/2y2OU7l
Add the wine or vermouth to the pan and, with a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook the wine until syrupy over high heat, about 3 minutes.
Add the chicken broth and sage. Reduce the sauce by ¼ or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1-3 Tablespoons of butter and mustard to enrich, flavor and thicken the sauce. (I’ve made this many times without the butter. Last night I followed the recipe exactly and, wow! what a difference the butter made! I highly recommend it.)
Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (For a cream sauce, add 2 to 4 Tablespoons cream to the sauce after the broth has reduced.) Put the warm chicken back in the pan and move it around a bit, to coat.
Tonight I’m serving this with homemade spinach and cheese ravioli. Fresh, packaged ravioli works fine, too.
For the ravioli sauce, put a few Tablespoons of butter and ½ tsp. dried sage in a pan on low. Lightly salt and pepper. Toss the cooked ravioli in this and gently warm for a minute or two. Transfer ravioli to hot plates and spoon sage butter on top. Yum!!!!
Enjoy! I can’t wait for dinner!