Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mustard Chicken with White Wine and Leeks

Despite being a fully-fledged grown-up with a job, a husband and (more than) a few grey hairs, there's nothing like a bout of temporary homelessness to make me feel like a teenager again. 

You see, while we're staying with family, we are no longer responsible for our own cooking, cleaning or laundry. in many ways, this feels like a massive treat - I know people who pay good money for this sort of lifestyle - but it's also quite unsettling. After years of self-sufficiency, it's odd to feel fifteen again. I keep wondering where my school bag is, and if I've done my Chemistry homework.

However, the other night we were alone in the house and it was time to get back in the kitchen. Isn't it ridiculous that, after just a few days, we'd missed the ritual of preparing our own dinner? I'd never fully appreciated how relaxing a bit of light-hearted pottering in the kitchen can be after a long day slaving at the grindstone. Or, let's be honest, sitting at the computer. 

We haven't cooked with raw chicken breasts for years, normally preferring to roast a whole chicken and use any leftover meat for pies, fajitas or risotto. But in this instance we were very generously given both the ingredients and a kitchen to cook them in, so we grabbed the opportunity to make another dish from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals. This Mustard Chicken turned out creamy and succulent, well-flavoured from the mustard and rosemary but still quite mellow. I wouldn't necessarily say that it's my favourite way to cook chicken, nor the most appealing to look at (although the intrepid internet adventurer who came to Dine at Mine by googling "brown slop" will be happy) but it's definitely something we'd make again. You know, once we've got a kitchen of our own. And finally done that Chemistry homework. 

Mustard Chicken with White Wine and Leeks
Slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals
Serves 3

- 3 chicken breasts (he specifies skin-on, but ours were skinless and they still worked)
- a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 3 teaspoons of English mustard
- olive oil, salt and pepper
- 2 leeks
- a couple of cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- a glassful of white wine
- 2 tablespoonfuls of creme fraiche (our version of Jamie's recommended single cream)
- a tablespoonful of whole grain mustard

Finely chop the rosemary and mix with the English mustard, some salt and pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Put a large frying pan on a medium heat and pour in a splash of olive oil. Rub the mustardy paste all over the three chicken breasts and place them in the pan. Flatten the chicken breasts down with a fish slice or spatula, squishing the fat ends in particular. 

Cook the chicken breasts for about ten minutes over a medium heat, turning once or twice. While they're cooking, halve the leeks lengthwise then finely slice. After the chicken has had ten minutes, chuck the leeks in and around the chicken. After a couple more minutes, add the garlic and wine. Keep pressing down the chicken with the fish slice every now and then.

The chicken should now have had about 18 minutes, so cut into the fattest one and check it's cooked right through. Then add the creme fraiche and mustard and stir it all together.

If you're fancy or energetic, serve with dauphinoise potatoes and posh greens. If not, be like us and serve it with mash and steamed veg. 

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