Posts Tagged mustard

Roast Hen with Paprika, Apricot, and Mustard

It’s been a long time since I’ve roasted a Cornish Hen. There area few reasons for this: other meat, even boneless breast-and-rib meat, tends to be a bit cheaper by weight, pan-searing and smoking are quicker than roasting, and boneless meat is a lot more convenient for cutting up bite-sized and adding to a pasta dish or stir fry.

Mostly though, I got bored. When I roast Cornish Hens (or any other bird except duck) I do the same three things over and over again. Roasted plain with mustard powder and salt. Roasted with Guinness (okay, I’ll never get sick of this, but I buy beer maybe 6-7 times a year, so it’s not gonna happen often). Roasted with lemon, garlic, and honey. There’s nothing wrong with any of this, but none of it really jumps out anymore and if there is anything I hate in the kitchen it’s feeling like I’m just making the same darn thing every week.


Too much time in a mass-producing kitchen only makes this worse. You try to get excited about cooking Cajun spiced fish after baking 1066 of them.

But I like roast chicken. It was just time to do it a bit differently. Good thing I had a copy of A Bird in the Oven hanging around. It’s one of those cookbooks I’ve had for a couple of years but inexplicably only ever use to make side dishes. This time I went looked at the chicken itself, ooh-ing at a few recipes and bookmarking others for possible dinner party use. I finally picked a recipe: roast chicken with saffron, ginger, and golden raisins.

Then, as usual, I changed pretty much everything.

I regret nothing. This is amazing.

I regret nothing. This is amazing.

Ingredients (serves 2)


1 Cornish Hen

2 T butter at room temperature

6 dried apricots

1 T whole mustard

1 t mustard powder

1/4 t white pepper

1/2 t smoked paprika

1 t kosher salt

3/4 cup white wine


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the spine out of the hen and cut through the breastbone, cutting it in half. Dry the hen well (better yet, dry cure it for a day or two in the fridge). Chop the apricots into about 1/4″ dice.


Combine the butter, diced apricots, and whole mustard in a small dish.


Squish together with a spoon until well combined.


Add the paprika and stir again.


Using your fingers and/or the back of a spoon, spread the butter mixture underneath the skin of your hen. This will feel gross. Persevere. Place the hens cut-side-down in a cast iron skillet or other oven safe dish and sprinkle the skins with the salt, mustard powder, and white pepper.


Roast 15 minutes at 400°F. Pop the skillet on the stove, reduce the heat to 350°F, and pour the wine over the chicken.


Return to the oven to roast another 25-30 minutes at 350°F. If you like crispy skin (and who doesn’t?) crank it up to broil for about two minutes at the end.


Let it rest just a couple of minutes to soak up a bit more of that wine before serving. Serve with spinach couscous and a plate of olives.


The apricot-mustard combination is definitely going to come out to play in future recipes. These are two of my favorite things but I never would have thought that combining them would work so well.


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Mustard Milanese

The Smitten Kitchen cookbook arrived in the mail a few weeks ago. Really good cookbooks present a problem for me, because once I get them I get so excited about everything that I can’t just choose a recipe and make it. Instead I declare that I want a four-course meal of everything in the book and then realize that even I can’t juggle that many burners at once. So I waffle about which recipe to make until 10PM and then it’s too late for proper dinner so we have plain pasta.


The SK cookbook is a really good cookbook. I try not to make too much fried food, but any recipe with mustard in it is completely irresistible to me, so out came the frying pan and oil. Then a week later, we made it again. It’s that good.

Ingredients (serves 2, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook)


1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 3/4 lb)

1/3 cup flour

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 egg white

2 T mustard

salt and white pepper to taste

vegetable oil for frying


Place the chicken breast between two layers of saran wrap.


Fold a kitchen towel over the chicken.


Hulk out. No, really, just lay into it with a rolling pin or other blunt object that isn’t likely to break. You want smashed chicken breast no more than 1/4 inch thick.


Pour some oil into a frying pan and set it over medium-high heat. Mix the mustard, egg white, salt, and pepper in a dish and ready dishes for the flour and bread crumbs as well.


Dredge in flour, then mustard mixture, then bread crumbs. Fry about 3 minutes on the first side.


Fry another 2-3 minutes on the second side.


Serve with a salad with an extra-tart vinaigrette.


A bit of lemon juice at the end does improve this, but isn’t necessary if you always seem to be out of lemons. It also goes well with roasted artichokes and couscous.



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Steak Frites Sandwich

I made these back in Texas. These are not po-boys (though I am discovering that the roast beef po-boy is a thing of beauty, truly). There is nothing N’awlins about these sandwiches.

Which is a shame, because they are so very good.

Also, I put french fries directly into my sandwiches. ‘Cause folks, I am classy. You know how I know it’s classy? When I was fourteen, I went to France. There was a lovely little sandwich shop in Nice where the incredibly snooty gentleman running this hole-in-the-wall made just such a sandwich, with roast beef and mustard and greens and fries all wrapped up in the bun. And clearly if it is done in France, even in a little backstreet dive, it is classy.

It is possible that I need to get out more.

This is one of my favorite sandwiches. It is in all ways superior to the hamburger, containing chopped beef instead of a ground beef patty, a good (though in this instance store-bought) roll instead of a too-soft hamburger bun, an abundance of spinach, and of course, the fries are inside the sandwich.

A fact which gives me no end of glee. Just go with it, okay?

Ingredients (makes 2 big sandwiches)

For the steak:

1/2 to 3/4 lb inexpensive steak

3-4 T red wine vinegar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T mustard

salt, paprika, and white pepper to taste

For the sandwiches:

1/2 to 3/4 lb cooked and chopped steak

2 crusty sandwich rolls (or one baguette)

a big handful of spinach

1 large potato and cooking oil for french fries

mustard, to taste (my preference is for about 2 T/sandwich

hot sauce to taste


Make the steak. For me, the only way to do this is with my delightful mini-smoker. Seriously, that thing was hands down the best $30 I ever spent for the kitchen, and now it’s only $22. Combine all the marinade items in a zip-top bag and add the steak. Marinate at least an hour.

Smoke for 25 minutes or cook it another way if you aren’t into perfect smoked meat straight off the stove. While it’s smoking (or pan-searing or braising or however you cook your steak), heat a few inches of vegetable oil, slice a potato into 1/2 inch sticks, and fry.

Set the fries aside. When the steak is done, give it a couple of minutes to rest away from heat.

Now is a good time to grill up your bread. Not a required step, but oh so good. Just heat a bit of olive oil or margarine and maybe a smashed clove of garlic in a small skillet and grill.


Now chop your beef.


Spread mustard on the top half of your roll, and dot some hot sauce on the bottom. If that doesn’t look like much hot sauce, please bear in mind that it is Blair’s After Death sauce, which is pretty darn hot, and also I am a complete wimp when it comes to Scovilles.

Add spinach, meat, and some fries.

Devour. Crunch spinach, gnaw meat, make sad little whimpering noises because Blair’s hot sauce is really quite hot and there are about ten whole drops of it on this one little sandwich.

You can stop laughing anytime. I already admitted that I’m a capsaicin wuss.

I won’t call this my favorite sandwich. There’s a grilled cheese with that honor which I think will never be unseated. But it definitely makes the top three. It is delightful, contains only a smidgen of guilt, and is simple enough to make on a weeknight when you’d rather eat with your hands in front of the television than at the table like people.


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Guiness Marinated Cornish Hen

This may be the best way to cook a chicken that I have ever encountered. I tend to say that about every type of Cornish hen I make, but this time I mean it. It’s tender. It’s dark. It’s smoky. All the bitterness of Guinness and mustard and molasses come together to turn the meat into something more decadent than I could possibly have guessed. And you won’t believe how easy it was to make.

One of the more delightful things about Cornish hens is the fact that they’re small. This means they don’t take as long to cook. This means you have to almost try to overcook the little things to end up with tough breast meat. So while this recipe would surely work for a nice big butterflied fryer if you cooked it longer, I urge you to stick with wee little hens. You’ll thank me when you pick up a drumstick and the meat slides right off of it onto your plate.

Ingredients (serves 1 per half-hen)

One and a half Cornish hens, bisected (or one hen to serve two, or two hens to serve four.)

1 bottle Guinness extra stout, or your favorite stout. Don’t use Guinness draught. I’ll know, and I won’t be pleased.

3 T mustard powder

3 T olive oil

1 T salt

2 T molasses

3 cloves garlic


Pour the beer in a bag. I like to prop a gallon zip-top bag up inside of my 2-quart soufflé dish so that it can’t fall over and cover the counter, the floor, and the corvid with marinade.

Scoop in the mustard powder.

Lots and lots of mustard powder.

Then the olive oil.

Then molasses. No, I didn’t actually measure the molasses. It’s too sticky.

Now we need some salt. I didn’t measure that, either, because there’s no such thing as too much salt.

Then garlic. I always seem to be out of fresh garlic, and the ones we planted were uprooted and carried off by a maniacal squirrel, so we’re using dried today. Fresh is better.

That’s your finished marinade. Seal it up and shake/squish it until everything is fully mixed.

Put the hens inside and pop the whole bag in the fridge for a few hours or (better) overnight. Flip the bag over a few times to keep the marinade even.

When ready to cook, heat the oven to 425°F. Arrange the hens skin side up in a cast iron pan big enough to fit them without crowding. Pour the marinade over them and sprinkle the skin with a bit of salt.

Bake 30-35 minutes at 425°F.

Serve with colcannon and asparagus.

Sorry about that last picture. My camera battery died before I could take more than one. The chicken is delightful. I agree with our lovely dinner guest that the only necessary improvement would be a chicken made only of the crispy skin (so good!), but this was delightful. I mean absolutely and purely fantastic. Make this soon, you won’t regret it.

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Homemade Honey Mustard

Mustard is really really good. It’s so spicy it’s almost palate-cleansing all on its own. Of course, you wouldn’t want to eat it on its own. Well, I wouldn’t. Mr. B., on the other hands, keeps sneaking into the kitchen for a spoonful. And it’s easy. Five minutes, ten if you’re taking pictures and remembering to feed the cats while you’re making it. The hard part is that you’re then supposed to just leave it on the counter for two whole hours while not eating wagyu hot dogs and roasted potatoes. Honestly, I don’t know how that’s possible.


1/2 cup mustard powder

1 1/2 T honey

1 T cider vinegar*

4-5 T beer (we used Santa Fe Nut Brown Ale, though Blue Moon would make the honey and orange pop nicely. Or just use whatever you drink. I’d love to see a version with Guinness.)

1-2  cloves garlic (I used one honkin’ big one, and I don’t like things to be really garlicky.)

zest of 1/2 of an orange

1/2 t salt

An old jar to put the finished mustard in


Crush and sauté the garlic. Mix mustard powder, salt, garlic, and orange zest in a small bowl. Add the honey and vinegar (*you can skip the vinegar if you want, and just use a bit more beer. I think it would have been better.) and whisk together. Add and whisk in beer, 1 T at a time, until the mixture is just a tad thinner than your usual mustard. Then you leave it alone at room temperature for at least two hours before serving. It’ll look a bit like this:

Once it’s had a couple of hours to ripen, scoop it into your clean jam jar. Serve on everything. Hotdogs, potatoes, sandwiches, toast, meat (it’s pareve!), fish, anything. Keep husbands and their spoons at bay as much as possible.

Meanwhile, make some hot dogs! Wagyu beef is so juicy and rich, I can’t believe it took me this long to start eating it. It helps that the hot dogs are nice and cheap, whereas a whole brisket would have set me back about $70. If I ever need 15 pounds of brisket, though. . .

Anyway, hot dogs. They’re easy. Just don’t prick the skin before cooking them! You’ll let out the magical juiciness! Roll ’em around in a cast iron over medium heat until they’re nice and hot all the way through, about 8 minutes. Boil them in beer first, if you are of the opinion that hot dogs ought to be boiled. They should look like this:

Wow, I need to clean the stove. Please pretend it’s okay!

Then you’ll want to put your hot dog in a toasted honey wheat bun (because you just made honey mustard, see?), smear a little mustard on the bun, and munch like a starved wolverine.

Try not to entirely forget about the potatoes roasting in the oven as you devour. Also, be warned, this is not French’s mustard. Use too much and it will kick your teeth in. Enjoy!

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