I learned the basic technique of this recipe very early in my cooking experience. I ended up taking a Sur la Table cooking class with my sister and the basic recipe was the primary focus of the class. Pan sauces might just be one of the simplest but most versatile techniques out there. You really just need some good brown bit in your pan, an acidic liquid, and some basic flavor elements.
The technique really does require those first two elements though. The brown bits from your meat (usually chicken, often dusted with flour) is basically pure flavor and are a cook’s best friend. The acid helps to grab all that flavor and turn it into an integrated sauce. Plus the acid makes cleaning your pan a breeze (probably Rob’s favorite part).
The most classic version of this technique from the cooking class involves white wine, garlic, and herbs. That gives you a simple, classic French flavor that is inoffensive and almost impossible to mess up. This is a really great intro to cooking recipe or something to feed a really picky eater.
I like to take that a step further and really bring in some bright citrus and tangy mustard. It still maintains that classic French flavor but with a little more depth and complexity. I also added tarragon, possibly my new favorite herb, for an extra hint of summery brightness. Finally, I hit the sauce with a touch of cream to round out and make a nice thick sauce for the chicken.
Wine Pairing: Trader Joe’s Grower’s Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
The wine we used for this was actually one of Trader Joe’s store brands. If you haven’t tried these, you should!! They are excellent quality and typically about $5 or less; for the price and quality you really can’t beat it. If you live somewhere where grocery stores can’t sell wine, I am sorry I know the pain from growing up in PA.
TJs has a few different options for store brands. The Charles Shaw (classic 2 Buck Chuck) and Moon Bay varieties are the cheeper options at about $3 which are good “Netflix and chill” night wines. For a pretty good quality at amazing price though look for the Grower’s Reserve or Petite Reserve lines. These will run you about $5-8 but at the quality for a $15 dollar bottle from a “brand name” wine. We have had a few of the whites and the Cab from these lines and I was quite pleased!
Chicken with Dijon Pan Sauce
- 6 Chicken Breasts thin cut or pounded
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1.5 Tbs Dijon
- 1.5 Tbs Grainy Mustard
- 1 Lemon sliced with butts juiced
- 5 Garlic Cloves smashed
- 2 Tsp Tarragon diced
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Pat the chicken dry and salt/pepper both sides.
- Cook the chicken for 4 minutes per side, working in batches, and removing when complete (tent to retain heat).
- At the garlic to the pan and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the wine, stirring to remove any clinging bits in the pan.
- Stir in the mustards, lemon, and tarragon. Reduce for about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cream, reduce for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add the chicken back in and coat both sides.