Many years ago I came across a recipe for Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce by Pierre Franey, the “60-Minute Gourmet” from the New York Times food section. I was drawn to the recipe because of the ingredients, as well as the fact that it went together quickly. My rule is to always follow someone else’s recipe exactly the first time you make it to see what his or her intention is. This was in 1987 and his recipe became a home favorite – one that we even used on our restaurant fresh sheet from time to time. I did make modifications to it, though.
It has been a long time since I made this recipe. It came back on my radar a few weeks ago when a friend asked if I had any good recipes using mushrooms. Adding mushrooms to the original recipe was one of my modifications. I looked without success to find the recipe. Then last week, while rustling through my old recipe files I found it. And since my friend is one of my most loyal followers of A Year at The Table I wanted to share it.
Mine is a more rustic version of the original recipe keeping the fabulous flavor in place but making it even easier. The addition of the mushrooms is one change and the other is substituting white wine with sherry or red wine vinegar – two ingredients more commonly in your pantry than opening a bottle of white wine. Yes they add a different flavor than the white wine, but I find asking for wine in a recipe can sometimes be a “deal breaker”. Not everyone wants to uncork a bottle during the week for a small amount used in a recipe. On the other hand, it’s an excuse to open the bottle and have several glasses too.
Starting with thin chicken breasts is important as they cook more evenly and quickly than a thicker piece. You can do this by either cutting each chicken breast in half widthwise or cutting in half lengthwise and pounding the pieces. I added a quick dip in flour to improve browning and to give a little bit of thickening to the sauce. Melting the butter with a bit of vegetable oil allows for a higher pan temperature to brown the chicken without burning the butter.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- ⅓ cup finely chopped onion
- 1-1/2 cups sliced mushrooms (about ¼ pound)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- ¼ cup white wine (see note)
- ½ cup chicken broth
- ⅓ cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- Pound chicken breasts between wax paper or plastic wrap to ½ inch thickness.
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Put flour in a shallow container; dredge chicken in the flour, shaking off excess.
- In a large skillet, heat butter and 2 tablespoons oil over medium high heat until butter starts to sizzle and brown. Add chicken and cook until chicken is browned, about 3 minutes; turn chicken and cook until browned and just cooked through about 3-4 minutes longer; remove chicken and keep warm.
- If necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and adjust heat to medium. Add onion and cook and stir until softened, about 2 minutes; add mushrooms and cook and stir until softened about 2 minutes then add thyme and stir. Add wine and chicken broth; bring to a simmer, scraping bits off bottom of the pan; simmer a few minutes to reduce the sauce a little. Add the cream and mustard and stir. Return chicken to the sauce in the pan; simmer over low to heat through, about 1-2 minutes.
- To serve, remove chicken from the pan and transfer to a platter or plates; pour sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.