My Paris Kitchen

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

by Anne Maxfield on May 7, 2018

Accidental Locavore Mustard Chicken With AsparagusFrank requested chicken with mustard “like the pork chops you make” last night.

I had just enough bandwidth to get it done (being in the throes of putting the house on the market) and thought it would be a good recipe to remind you of.

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of David Lebovitz’s new book My Paris Kitchen. 

The recipes look great and the first one I put to the test was this one for poulet à la moutarde. It was one of those “what’s not to like?” recipes, with bacon and so much mustard I actually ran out of Dijon – something I wouldn’t have thought possible! This serves 4.

Chicken With Mustard and Bacon

  • ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • Black pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (Kosher or sea salt)
  • 4 chicken legs and 4 thighs
  • 1 cup bacon, thick cut and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
  • Olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds or grainy mustard
  • 2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
  • Chopped parsley or chives for garnish

In a bowl big enough to hold the chicken, mix ½ cup of the Dijon with the paprika, salt and pepper. Toss the chicken in the mustard, coating the pieces well, and rubbing some of it under the skin.

Heat a big skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is just starting to brown. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan and discard the rest.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the thyme, cook for another few minutes and scrape everything into a medium-sized bowl.

Accidental Locavore Mustard ChickenIncrease the heat to medium-high, add a little olive oil if needed and the chicken pieces in one layer. Don’t crowd them and cook in two batches if necessary. Brown them well on one side and then flip them over and brown the other side. Give it time as you want the chicken to be really browned as this is where the flavor comes from.

Remove the chicken from the pan and put it in the bowl with the onions. Add the wine to the pan and scrape off the bits that have stuck to the pan. Add the chicken, onions and bacon back to the pan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (165° on an instant-read thermometer). While the chicken is cooking, stir it a couple of times, to coat with the sauce.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard seeds or grainy mustard and the crème fraîche into the sauce. Sprinkle the parsley over the top, serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Wonderful! An important lesson I learned from Gabriel Rucker and again, making this recipe, is that you really have to have some patience (something I have in terribly short supply) and let the meat really brown – it makes a world of difference! This is a pretty classic recipe and I’ve done a variation of it with rabbit – also delicious! Since Frank isn’t fond of chicken legs, I just used thighs and that worked fine. As you read in the intro, I ran out of smooth Dijon, so added in about 3-4 tablespoons of grainy Dijon, which was fine. If you used a good, strong Dijon, it will give you more of a pronounced mustard taste (which is a good thing – right?). He suggests serving it with some fresh pasta, but rice or mashed potatoes would soak up the sauce nicely too. Definitely give it a try, it’s probably under an hour, start to finish.

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My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories

by Anne Maxfield on April 3, 2017

Why was My Paris Kitchen a highly anticipated cookbook?

The Accidental Locavore has long been a fan of David Lebowitz.

If you’re not familiar with him, David is an American chef and food writer living in Paris. His blog is a great source of info on food, restaurants and the day-to-day quirkiness of living in Paris (and points beyond).

Up until this point, the books have dealt mostly with his specialty – pastry and baking. And even though I’m not any kind of baker, I’ve bought his books just for the writing.  So I was thrilled to learn that his latest book, My Paris Kitchen, was going to be more of a “real” cookbook and even more excited to get an advance copy to peruse.

Even reading it on my iPad (not my favorite way to look at cookbooks), it was easy to see that in print this was going to be a beautiful book with great photos.

The only downside? It’s going to make you want to drop the book and get yourself on the next flight to Paris!

And even though I don’t read cookbooks very thoroughly, I began at the beginning with My Paris Kitchen and actually read through the first few chapters – which was kind of a revelation, because David really explains his methodology and the rationale behind the recipes.

Now did I remember any of it when I went to make one of the chicken recipesAccidental Locavore My Paris Kitchen Mustard ChickenNot at all, but the dish turned out great!

Of course, there’s the usual must-haves for gear and pantry, but what makes David’s approach so  informative, are his comparisons between what he thought would be easy to find in Paris (and wasn’t). What the French take for granted vs. what we take for granted; as you might expect, for the most part we come up lacking.

As he says, “It’s easy to make good food with good ingredients, because most of the work is done for you.” I agree!

The introduction to many of the sections and some of the recipes will seem familiar to followers of the blog. You may or may not remember the chase for cheese in the Jura, when the car skidded off the road, but it’s certainly well worth re-reading. The book is traditionally organized by courses, with a pantry section at the end to give you David’s take on the basics.

Accidental Locavore My Paris Kitchen Olive ToastsI guess the good news/bad news part about reading this on an iPad is that you can’t dog-ear the pages with the recipes you want to try, so when my real copy arrives (thank you Julie!), I’m going for the Chicken Lady Chicken (which has a great hint for making a paste of garlic and salt!), as well as the Salted Olive Crisps, the Scalloped Potatoes with Blue Cheese and Garlic, and so much more. This is definitely going to be one of my go-to cookbooks!

Update: As expected, this has become one of the cookbooks I reach for over and over again. Along with the recipes mentioned, I’ve made his salted caramel chocolate mousse and green beans in the style of escargots. And unlike a lot of cookbooks (and recipes), nothing has come out less than great! Rereading this, I realize that I still haven’t made the scalloped potatoes, or one of my favorites when I took his cooking class at DeGustibus, the Parisian Gnocchi. Hmm…time to get cooking!

Let me know in the comments–how do you keep track of recipes you want to try? 

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Mousse

by Anne Maxfield on May 19, 2016

Accidental Locavore Salted Carmel Chocolate MousseThese were the criteria: I needed a dessert for a dinner party, it needed to travel well and since the hostess is another foodie, the dessert needed to be pretty damn good. After spending a lot of time with Made in India, the Accidental Locavore decided to go back to another favorite, David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Since he’s such a dessert guy, he had to have something that would impress 6 people:

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter, cubed
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt, preferably fleur de sel or Malden

Accidental Locavore Mousse PrepSpread the sugar evenly over the bottom of a wide sauce pan. Heat the sugar over medium heat. As it begins to liquefy at the edges, with a heatproof spatula (thank you, GIR), very gently drag the liquefied sugar towards the center. Watch carefully as once the edges start to darken, the sugar is in danger of burning. Continue to cook, stirring gently until all the sugar is melted and begins to caramelize.

When the sugar is a deep amber color and starts to smoke, remove it from the heat and quickly whisk in the butter, stirring until it is melted. Gradually whisk in the cream and stir until the little bits of caramel are completely melted. I find it helps to warm the cream before you add it in.

Accidental Locavore Caramel for MousseOnce smooth, add the chocolate, stirring gently until it’s melted and smooth. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature. Once it’s no longer warm, whisk in the egg yolks.

In a separate large bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold 1/3 of the mixture into the chocolate and sprinkle in the salt. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no streaks of white remain.

Divide the mousse into serving glasses or a serving bowl and chill for at least 8 hours. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Who knew 6 ingredients could be so delicious? I had eaten these before when David was cooking at DeGustibus, but somehow (sorry David) these tasted better. Somewhere in the process, it occurred to me that they needed a little something crunchy (probably too much time spent in Nice eating chocolate desserts) so I made some tuiles to go with them and it was the perfect touch. That recipe will go up next week, so stay tuned. Be careful making the (any) caramel, it’s a mere moment in time between beautiful and burnt. Gently warming the cream makes it much easier as the caramel doesn’t harden and take forever to combine with the cream.

And the reaction at the dinner? One of the guests asked if he could lick his dish!

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David Lebovitz at DeGustibus

by Anne Maxfield on June 22, 2015

Accidental Locavore D LebovitzAs you know, the Accidental Locavore is a big fan of David Lebovitz’s newish book, My Paris Kitchen. When DeGustibus announced that he was going to be doing a cooking demo, I couldn’t wait to sign up! As it turns out, he rarely does demos since he feels he’s not so good at cooking and instructing (but he would be wrong).

We started out with an amuse bouche of tapenade made from black olives and figs and served with champagne to get us in a celebratory mood. The figs were a nice addition to the tapenade, but what David said (and I haven’t tried yet) was that rinsing the capers and squeezing them dry “will change your life.” Stayed tuned!

Accidental Locavore Merguez MeatballsThese were followed by merguez meatballs with a harissa mayo. How these escaped me in the book, I have no idea! Nicely browned, the meatballs were just a bit spicy and the mayo added a nice little kick. Definitely have to give these a try and the mayo is a snap to make—just add a tablespoon or so of harissa to about ¾ cup of mayo. Bet it’s great on a lamb burger!

Accidental Locavore Parisian GnocchiProbably my favorite, and definitely the most indulgent, were the Parisian gnocchi with béchamel. Think savory profiteroles or cream puffs with cheese sauce and you’re most of the way there. It started with a pâté à choux, (it’s what’s used for cream puffs, éclairs etc.) formed into balls and poached until partially cooked. Then David whipped up a Mornay sauce, put the gnocchi in a gratin pan, covered that with sauce and sprinkled a healthy topping of Parmesan and Emmenthal and baked it. Think of it as the French version of mac & cheese, but better, so much better!!

Accidental Locavore Chicken and BeansNot that we needed anything else, but his main course was the chicken with mustard which I’ve made (and it’s great!). Your choice of mustard really counts here, so splurge and get some real Dijon. And if you think that green beans are generally ho-hum, you haven’t tried his—steamed and drenched in snail butter, in other words, lots of butter and garlic!

Accidental Locavore Chocolate Caramel MousseFor dessert, a chocolate, salted-caramel mousse. Since David is known as a pastry chef, it should have been the highlight of the evening, but it wasn’t my favorite thing. The texture was a little too slick and pudding-like for my taste, since I’ve never been a fan of toothless desserts.

If any of these sounds like something you’d like to try, get the book. It’s one of the few that’s crossed my desk that I’ve used over and over.

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