Today´s recipe for the French Fridays with Dorie group is Chicken Breasts Diable (Poulet à la diable). Low in fat and quick to cook, skinless chicken breasts are an easy option for a simple supper and this recipe is no exception. The dish gets its “devilish” name from the addition of mustard to the cream based sauce. Mustard is a bit the “unsung hero” of the kitchen cupboard, adding some heat and a depth of flavor to a huge range of dishes. It is actually made from nothing more than mustard seeds and some flavoring ingredients.
Dorie´s recipe calls for sautéeing chicken cutlets and making a pan sauce with shallots and garlic, white wine, cream, and mustard – she suggests that it is best to use either a Dijon mustard (used for example also in salad dressings and marinades) or a wholegrain mustard (prominently used for example also in salmon gravalax sauce and honey glazes for hams).
To round out this chicken with the cream sauce, I bought some fresh spinach and sautéed it in some olive oil with some new spring garlic…
…and made the new “family favorite”, namely Roesti (Rösti) - albeit this time, I made mini versions.
Since I like to make cream based sauces for my chicken or pork every so often, I thought that it was time to make the preparation of this kind of sauce a bit more interesting. I decided to make my own wholegrain mustard to be added to this sauce “à la diable”.
Mustard is available in many different styles and from any shop that sells food. Artisanal mustards have become quite the rage around here recently and we will be visiting an artisan “mustard mill” during the Easter break, but for now, I realized that it could not be easier to make your own mustard. The advantage being that you can make the mustard exactly how you like it and you will have a certain sense of satisfaction that you get when you succeed in making something that tastes better than the store bought variety.
Mustard is made by setting off a series of chemical reactions. The mustard seeds itself are not inherently pungent, they need some grinding and water to spark the distinctive kick, which then needs to be held in place by vinegar and preserved with salt. You can add whatever you like to make it your own, such as some local honey, dried herbs (maybe from your garden), some spices, or even chili. The homemade mustard needs a day or two to mellow. So here is the recipe for a basic mustard that can be adjusted to a whole variety of different tatses.
Recipe for Homemade Wholegrain Mustard
Ingredients for the Mustard
- 6 tbsp mustard seeds (I used 5 tbsp yellow mustard seeds and 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds)
- 2 tsps fine French sea salt
- ½ tbsp mustard powder (I used Colmans mustard powder)
- 6 tbsp white wine or cold water (I used the same French white wine that I also used in the cream sauce)
- 3 tbsp vinegar (I used a Riesling vinegar from our local oil and vinegar manufacturer)
- honey to taste (I always use local honey in all my cooking and baking)
- some dried herbs, turmeric, ginger, or cloves (entirely optional)
Preparation of the Mustard
- Grind about half the mustard seeds in a pestle and mortar or coffee grinder until fine. It is best to do this in stages.
- Then add the rest and give them another quick grind. The resulting mixture should be smooth and rough at the same time (some powder, some cracked seeds, a few whole seeds)
- Transfer the mustard seed mixture to a bowl and stir in the salt and mustard powder.
- If using, add one of the optional ingredients now as well.
- Then pour in the wine or cold water . The mustard can be made a bit more mellow if you substitute warm water at this stage.
- Stir in the vinegar.
- Pour into a sterilized glass jar and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before serving. NOTE: You can keep the mustard for a few months in your fridge.
Once you have prepared the chicken breasts for this recipe and prepare the “sauce à la diable”, you can add about three tablespoons of your homemade wholegrain mustard together with the white wine, cream and the other ingredients. Quite delightful!
We all loved this recipe for “Poulet à la Diable with Homemade Wholegrain Mustard”, the sautéed spinach with new garlic and the mini Roesti (Rösti). What a wonderful weekday dinner!
To see how the Chicken Breasts Diable were prepared by the other members of the French Fridays with Dorie group, please do click here.