The Cookbook Addict
I am a cookbook addict. My collection of cookbooks is so expansive that when Tim and I talk about living and traveling in a converted school bus (dreaming and scheming!) we have to talk about where the cookbooks would go. It’s bad… well it’s awesome… but it’s bad. Which means that many of the recipes I make have been inspired by these books. The Dijon Chicken with Potatoes is one of those recipes.
I have two of Melissa Clark’s cookbooks. They are both truly wonderful. I find myself going back to them again and again. Before I went paleo, the recipe I made the most was a recipe that has evolved quite a bit, even in her world. Melissa was inspired by a friend’s version, of a whole roast chicken and mustard recipe with bread as the base. She revised that recipe and then her mother changed it AGAIN. Melissa’s recipe and her Mother’s version are fantastic. I have made it for parties and used that toasty bread for a panzanella salad. It is just delicious! However, I don’t really eat bread. I mean I do sometimes (I am more paleo-ish than 100% paleo) but I certainly don’t cook with it most of the time. So I decided to evolve this baby one more time.
This time, instead of bread as the base I use potatoes. This way I can capitalize on all those delicious chicken juices without any of the side effects I usually get when I eat bread. I mean, why let all those chicken juices go to waste, right? Layers of potato slathered with mustard and thyme sprinkled through out make a perfect base for mustard-y chicken thighs. It comes together with a tiny bit of effort, but it is quick and not complicated at all. Serve this with fresh sliced beefsteak tomatoes drizzled with balsamic, good olive oil, and some nice flaky sea salt. You’ll have a special occaision dinner you can make any night of the week.
My Favorite Melissa Clark Cookbooks
When looking at a wine to pair with a dish, I want to see the individual components of the recipe and how those components come together when cooked. For this dish, our main flavor ingredients are mustard, thyme, and dark meat chicken. I need a wine that can handle the subtle heat of the mustard, the herbal notes of the thyme, and the rich fat from the chicken thighs. Knowing this, I want a wine that has a good amount of fruit for the mustard heat, some tannic qualities for the richness of the chicken, and soft herbal notes to accent the thyme.
One varietal that can hit on all of these notes is Carmenere from Chile. Camenere originated in France, but has fell out of favor over the years and now Chile is the main country for production of this red varietal. You will be able to find most bottles of Carmenere for under $20. This offering from De Martino is just what I need. It has soft red and black berry fruit, hints of smoked herbs, and velvet textured tannins on a medium-full body. Enjoy!