French Dijon Chicken 

With Cheddar and Courgette Quick Bread

Don your apron Nigella, ‘cause you about to bask in loads of complementary ooohs and ahhhs. Fresh bread, while delicious, can be a bit of a hack to make when you are pressed for time. Not this one! This show stopping and wholesome family meal of fresh baked courgette and cheddar quick bread and a lovely creamy French Dijon Chicken comes together in just over an hour. Minimal washing up, maximum impact, and loved by kids and adults alike. 

Add a few rocket leaves dressed in a little lemon juice and you’re golden. If you want to keep things really easy, simply buy a nice loaf of bread to dip into your lovely chicken sauce, but we think the bread is worth the little extra effort as they pair together perfectly. The cook along for the recipes can be found on my highlights  under French Dijon Chicken and Soda Bread.

Arm yourself with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors and head over to my Cooking Fundamentals highlight on instagram,(@The_Culinary_Cartel) where I demystify breaking down a whole chicken (it’s easy I promise). You can of course buy chicken pieces, but a whole chicken is incredibly economical allowing you to get more bang for your buck when you shell out on happy, antibiotic free, pasture reared birds. There’s no such thing as cheap chicken, when the environmental and social costs of factory farming are taken into consideration. Buy a happy animal, from a local environmentally conscious farmer and you not only give back to your community, but support a method of agriculture that’s sustainable. Save the carcass’ and extra bones in the freezer and whip up a batch of deliciously nourishing, collagen laden bone broth when you have the time- your soon to be glowing skin will thank you!

French Dijon Chicken with Courgette and Cheddar Soda Bread

Ingredients

For The French Chicken

1 Whole Chicken, broken down into 10 pieces, or 4 legs and 4 thighs

3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 

2Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Double Thick Cream/Creme Fraiche 

1 Cup Chicken stock

1 Onion, thinly sliced

2 Cloves Garlic, grated

2 Tbsp Capers (optional, but recommended)

1-2 Lemons: 2 Tbsp juice, and 1 Tbsp zest*

Chopped Parsley to Garnish

80g Rocket for serving (optional)

1 packet Nut & Seed Mix (optional)

Salt, pepper and oil as required

 

*Any leftover juice can be used to dress the rocket leaves

 

For the Bread:

125g Whole Wheat Flour

100g Cake Flour

25g Rolled Oats 

4g Bicarbonate Soda

4g Salt

1T Honey

200ml Buttermilk

140g Courgette, grated

60g Mature Cheddar Cheese 

(Emental, Gouda, Parm and Boerenkaas also work great! Or Use a mix of cheeses )

15ml of Milk for glazing 

1T Melted Butter

 

Method: 

 

Heat your oven to 200C on the fan setting.

 

Start by making your bread. Place your courgette into a clean tea towel. Gather the corners together and squeeze out as much of the water in the courgette as you can, you should be left with roughly 115g of squeezed courgette. Don’t skip this step as we don’t want this excess liquid seeping into our bread when baking. 

 

To a large bowl, add your flours, salt, oats and bicarb, squeezed courgette, honey, buttermilk and cheese (keep a small amount back, about 2 Tbsp, to top your bread). Mix everything together until just combined, with no streaks of flour remaining. The trick to this bread is to mix it as little as possible, as you would with scone dough, as over-mixing can lead to it being heavy and doughy once baked. 

 

Turn the dough out onto a cookie tray, lined with baking paper or a silicone mat. Shape the dough into a round, and flatten it slightly. Brush the dough with your milk and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Pop the bread into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes. If the cheese starts to get too brown too early, simply cover the bread with some foil. 

 

While the bread bakes, place an oven safe pan or Le Creuset style casserole onto a high heat. Add a drizzle of oil and brown your chicken pieces on all sides, until the skin is golden. Set the chicken pieces aside, as they will finish cooking in the oven. 

 

To the same pan (don’t clean it we want all those lovely chicken juices) add your onions and cook on medium high, until they soften and turn golden brown. Once the onions are golden, add the mustard, capers, cream, lemon zest and juice and stock. Stir everything together, then add the bone in chicken pieces back in, skin side up (so it can get super crisp). If using a whole, broken down chicken, we add the bone in pieces first, as they take a little longer to cook.

 

Pop the chicken uncovered into the oven to cook for 20 minutes, then add the chicken breast pieces in and cook for 15-20 minutes more, or until the chicken is crispy and cooked through. The time will vary slightly, depending on the size of you chicken pieces, 

 

Remove the bread from the oven, and while still hot brush the bread with the melted butter. Set aside to cool slightly (making it easier to slice), while the chicken finishes cooking. 

 

Make your quick rocket salad, by placing the rocket into a serving bowl, sprinkling over the nut and seed mix (if using), and squeezing over a little lemon juice. Finish the salad with a light drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 

 

Remove the chicken from the oven and serve it in the casserole, alongside the soda bread and quick rocket salad. Slice off thick chunks of fresh bread to dip into your lovely french mustard sauce and enjoy!