I’m always one for a good cooking challenge. I find they generally push me outside of my comfort zone and call for greater resourcefulness than I might ordinarily use in my everyday cooking. So when Saucy Mama announced their Fab With Five Recipe Challenge for food bloggers I knew I was game. The rules were that we were to create an original dish using only five ingredients (though we could use salt, pepper, and oil as freebies) and one of those ingredients needed to be one of their products, which we received as part of a blogger kit.
I’m a huge mustard lover so the Tarragon Lemon Mustard immediately appealed to me. Before conceiving my dish, I sampled it plain to see what I was working with. I loved how the Meyer lemon juice added brightness while the tarragon added a grassy freshness. The mustard also contains honey which balances everything out and offsets the brininess of the vinegar for a smooth flavor.
I knew I wanted to make something that would showcase the mustard’s flavor and would develop the most possible flavor out of my five ingredients. I know five ingredient cooking = easy, for most people, but I actually find it more difficult than cooking with a longer ingredient list. Sure, there’s less time chopping and prepping, but there are also fewer ingredients to build flavor. It also requires that you cook with the freshest, highest quality ingredients. With only 5 ingredients if your produce has gone a bit limp or your dairy isn’t creamy and fresh, you can tell.
For my dish, I chose to make a simple bone-in roast chicken breasts. Bone-in is key here as it keeps the chicken from drying out in the oven and imparts more flavor. I started the chicken on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet coated with a little canola oil before transferring it to the oven. The chicken then gets transferred to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper to finish roasting in the oven along side purple seedless grapes.
If roasted grapes with chicken sound unusual to you, I urge you to give them a try. The hot oven breaks them down ever so slightly so their juices concentrate and caramelize and become almost like dessert wine in flavor. The end result is sweet and pungent and somewhere in flavor between a grape and a raisin. They also offset the savoriness of the chicken beautifully.
While the chicken was roasting, I turned my lemon tarragon mustard into a cream sauce. I started by sautéing the shallots until translucent in the same skillet that I used to cook the chicken. This is key because it allows you to get all the flavor from the chicken drippings, which helps add richness and depth. And when you’re cooking with only a handful of ingredients, the more flavor you can take advantage of, the better. From there, I added half and half, and of course, the mustard. The mustard is perfect in this sauce because it thickens the half and half beautifully with mustard standing out as the most prominent flavor with the lemon and the tarragon adding lovely backup notes. This sauce was so silky that I easily could have lapped it up all on its own. It’s also very versatile. I imagine it would taste equally sinful atop a crispy pork chop or pork tenderloin or over a beautiful piece of salmon.
After the chicken finished roasting, I added it to the pan along with the grapes. By this point the grapes were so hot they were practically molten, their juices bleeding out into the sauce. Again, this is wonderful because it adds more flavor, specifically sweetness, to the dish.
I served them alongside a generous scoop of mashed sweet potatoes (I’ve been craving sweet potatoes ever since Lauren posted her Tropical Twice-Baked Sweet Potato Recipe.) and the result was heavenly. Despite its simplicity, the cream sauce tastes elegant and refined. The sauce has a pronounced kick from the mustard which is offset beautifully by the concentrated sweetness of the grapes. I especially loved the way they bursted in my mouth. And the chicken! I’m not generally a chicken lover, but if I’m going to make it, this is the way to go. It comes out of the oven surreally moist. You would haves sworn I’d brined it to give it so much moisture. It’s also wonderfully offset by the caramelized crust. All and all this was a fantastic dish. I definitely convinced me that it’s possible to make rich and flavorful food with just a few ingredients. And Saucy Mama is sponsoring a wonderful giveaway so you too can make this dish, or whatever your heart desires. Scroll down for details.
-1 tablespoon canola oil
-2 bone-in chicken breasts, skin removed and trimmed of excess fat
-Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-1 cup halved red seedless grapes
-1/4 cup chopped shallots
-1 cup half and half
-3 tablespoons Saucy Mama’s Tarragon Lemon Mustard
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Heat canola oil in an oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add the chicken, meat side down and cook for 3 minutes to brown. Place the pan in the oven, uncovered for 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and turn the chicken over and place meat side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the grapes around the chicken. Return the chicken to the oven until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the shallot to the same skillet used to cook the chicken and cook over medium heat. Cook shallot for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the half and half to the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the mixture has reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Whisk the mustard into the pan.
When the chicken is cooked through, remove it and the grapes from the oven and add both the pan of mustard sauce. If you grapes and/or chicken gave off liquid while cooking be sure to stir as much of it as you can into the sauce. Serve immediately.
One lucky reader will win a gift pack from Saucy Mama that includes Saucy Mama Pacific Rim Ginger Dressing, Saucy Mama Tarragon Lemon Mustard, and Saucy Mama Sweet Heat Marinade.
There are multiple ways to enter to win:
1. Leave a comment telling me what you condiment you can absolutely not live without.
2. Tweet about this giveaway (I am @cupcakeartist).
3. Follow me on twitter.
4. Mention and link to this giveaway on your blog, on Facebook or on Twitter.
5. Add me to your blogroll.
6. Add me to your RSS reader (Links to do so are in the top right corner of the page. Note that I switched RSS providers relatively recently so even if you previously subscribed to my feed you may want to do so again.)
*Please be sure to come back here and leave another comment for each additional entry telling me what you did. (i.e. If you tweet about this and add me to your blogroll, come back and add a separate comment for each.)
The contest will end Friday, May 27 at 12 AM Central time so get your entries in by then. This contest is open to anyone anywhere in the US.