Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dijon Chicken with Risotto

I haven't published a main dish recipe in quite a while.  I made Dijon chicken yesterday for my husband, put it in the fridge, and he was able to heat it up when he came home from work.

I think it's super important to have family dinners together.  However, Jay is missing from the equation on most nights because of his job.  Spring is a very busy time of year for him, and I'm lucky if I get a phone call from him before I go to bed.  So I have been trying to prepare meals that will reheat easily, and meals that I can stretch for a couple of dinners. 

Also being on a budget, using chicken thighs was a great cost saving idea.  Typically chicken thighs are lower in cost than chicken breasts.  I happened to find a great deal on organic boneless skinless at BJ's.  They were even pre-packaged into four individual pouches ready for the freezer.  I kept out one package (containing four large chicken thighs), and froze the other three packages for a later date.  Besides being cost friendly, chicken thighs are dark meat and stay a bit moister when re-heating.

I paired this with a creamy Parmesan risotto.  Now don't be afraid of cooking risotto.  It's quite simple, just takes a bit of time, about thirty minutes.  Another key to cooking risotto, is having your chicken or vegetable stock warm.  This way when you add it to the rice it doesn't bring down the cooking temperature.  The recipe I use for risotto is on the back of the rice container.  To put my own little spin on it, I added a handful of frozen peas and Parmesan cheese.  Can you say yummy?!

I urge you to give this dish a try.  It's simple, can be prepared ahead of time, budget friendly, and it's great for entertaining.  Serve along side of a green salad and your guests will be impressed.

Dijon Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 c. chicken stock
juice of one lemon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. flour
salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet, drizzle in about a tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat.  Add your chicken thighs, and cook on the first side about 8 to 10 minutes.  You want to get a good sear and brown the meat well.  Flip and cook on the other side about another 4 to 6 minutes or until thighs are cooked through. 

If you are not sure if the chicken is cooked through by poking it, take a small knife and cut a slit in the middle.  No one is going to know you cut it open once you pour the sauce on.  I also think your guests would rather a have small slit in their chicken, than having under cooked meat.

Remove chicken from the skillet and allow to rest on a plate.  Add the flour and butter to the hot skillet.  Stir with a whisk and let the flour cook about a minute.  Add the chicken stock, whisking to make a pan sauce.  Add the mustard, lemon juice, and salt & pepper to taste.  Pour over your chicken.

Creamy Parmesan & Pea Risotto

1 c. uncooked arborio rice
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. diced onion
3 c. chicken stock, warmed
1/2 c. frozen peas
1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

In a deep skillet, saute onion with oil and butter for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add rice and cook another 2 minutes.  Add one cup of chicken stock, stirring, until absorbed.  Repeat this process with the remaining chicken stock.  Don't rush this, you want to let the rice cook and become creamy.  Taste your rice to check if it is tender.  If it's not tender after adding all the stock, add about another 1/2 cup of stock until tender.  Remove from heat, add frozen peas, and Parmesan cheese.  Stir with a wooden spoon vigorously until super creamy.

Like I said before, this meal is super simple but takes a bit of time.  I prepared my risotto first, as it took about 30 minutes.  Also, I left the sauce off the chicken until I reheated it, so it wouldn't make my rice soggy.

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