dijon chicken with tarragon and carrots

 thyme and garlic
 baby carrots ready for roasting
 dijon chicken with carrots and thyme

I believe I was born in the wrong country. I'm sorry Romania, I'm proud of my heritage and all but I feel I should have been born in France. I remember the day it all started. My dad, always big into the arts, loved movies, museums, shows and really anything artistic. He would emphasize the importance of having a healthy dose of art in my life. I must have been about 6 or 7, when we did our usual weekend outing. Most parents would take their kids to see animated movies, which I did see as well, but instead he felt a 1960s comedy was more apropos. It was Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez. 

Looking back, I doubt it was appropriate for someone my age but it was Europe and people didn't have the same censoring they do here. The film was in French with subtitles...hilarious, silly, and there was something about it that made an impression on me. Since then, I've been infatuated with the French culture, language, lifestyle and most importantly, absolutely and madly in love with French food. 

Now I know what you're thinking, uhh, you eat a mostly paleo diet, which excludes bread, cheese, butter and well French food isn't French food without those elements. But there's more to French food that that - it's a style of cooking, the combinations, the care and quality of ingredients that goes into every dish that makes it so. 

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In 2010 my husband and I discovered this tiny french restaurant in our town that served seasonal dishes. The menu changed weekly so if you had the best meal of your life one week, chances are you will never have it again. Maybe that was part of the mystique.  

Dijon chicken - that was one of the dishes served that evening. When I go out to eat, I opt for sea food, but this sounded interesting and caught my attention. Almost too simple. I've never thought about a meal the way I have about this one. I fell and fell hard. I needed it in my life. I could pick out some of the ingredients for the sauce and was determined to recreate it. Now, the only thing that does make this dish complete is a piece of baguette to clean up all the sauce but I can live without it, instead opting for a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. 

I've made this recipe with fresh tarragon as well as dried. While fresh is always best, dried is surprisingly tasty too and available all year round. I find tarragon only shows up occasionally in my local market so I can't rely on having it at my disposal when I'm in the mood for this dish. I also like serving it over roasted potatoes as the starch balances the chicken and carrots well. If you don't have any dietary restriction, feel free to soak up the sauce with a nice piece of baguette. 

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dijon chicken with tarragon and carrots

  • prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • cooking time: 50-60 minutes
  • makes: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lb chicken legs
  • 1.5 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp dry tarragon or 2 tbsp fresh
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 3/4 tsp pepper divided
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 bag baby carrots cut in half 
  • optional: serve over roasted potatoes 

Equipment

  • dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot
  • roasting sheet
  • parchment paper or foil
  • small mixing bowl

Directions

Pat chicken with paper towels and season with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. 

Preheat dutch oven on medium high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Brown for 2-3 minutes on all sides and set aside to rest on plate.

*You may need to do this in stages if not all of the chicken fits. Fell free to add additional olive oil for the second browning. 

Add additional 1 tbsp olive oil and add chopped onion. Cook for 6-8 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add wine, increase heat and scrape all brown bits. About 1-2 minutes.

Add broth, tarragon, chicken with juices, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and 3 tbsp Dijon mustard. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low. Cook for 40-45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. 

Meanwhile combine carrots, remaining tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 pepper and roast for 25 minutes until soft but still retaining some bite. 

When chicken is fully cooked, remove a 1/2 cup of broth and combine with arrowroot powder in bowl. Mix well and add back to pot along with roasted carrots. 

Serve over roasted potatoes or with a side of green beans.