There are endless ways to serve up chicken, and in our kitchen we most often roast or quickly fry it in a pan. Add mustard? I'm sold. Wine and herbs mixing in a broth that begs for big hunks of bread to go with it? Yes, please.
The chicken dinner I keep coming back to is Mustard Chicken With Shallots.
Beyond the tender, golden brown pieces of chicken bathed in an irresistible golden broth of white wine, chicken fat and mustard infused with fresh tarragon, I really love this recipe because it works just as well for a weeknight dinner as it does for a small dinner party.
It's straightforward enough to make on any given weeknight after Danny and I get home from work and the gym, but it also feels elevated enough to serve to a few friends over for dinner on the weekend.
Yes, the melt-in-your-mouth shallots keep me coming back for more, but this shows up on our table more often than other chicken dishes because it's as easy as it is tasty. The chicken is quickly braised, and it is especially beautiful when you stir in a mix of bright orange and red baby tomatoes at the end.
After your first or second time following this recipe, you'll have mastered it and probably memorized it, too.
Now, can we talk about seasoning for a second? I like to salt the chicken before I get my mise en place going so the meat has more time to absorb the salt. I rub a generous amount of kosher salt into both sides of each chicken thigh and then set them aside on a cutting board while I prep the rest of the meal. My resulting chicken is always noticeably tastier when I take the time to season the meat first and allow the salt to do its thing.
As for the wine used in the recipe, reach for something on the drier side that is not too pricey or too cheap. The recipe calls for 2 cups, so you can sip the rest while the chicken simmers. A pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc will work well.
If you are cooking this chicken for guests, I suppose there is one extra step: more wine.
Ileana Morales Valentine lives in St. Petersburg with her husband. For more of their kitchen stories, visit her blog, ALittleSaffron.com. Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.