So today I will actually make homemade mustard. It is remarkably easy and yields a product quite different from commercial mustard. It has a certain earthy nuttiness that is lacking in many prepared varieties. You can make it as rustic or smooth as you like.
In order to show off our homemade concoction we will serve it alongside a very simple, but meticulously prepared, poached chicken. This is a great way to serve chicken, especially when you want to feature some particularly nice ingredient or accompaniment.
Done well, poached chicken is pure chicken‑y chicken-ness that tastes so darn much like chicken. People tend to tart up chicken these days. I think that is because commercial grocery store chickens are losing their chicken-i-ness. Somehow convenience and uniformity of size have become the traits breeders prize.
So for this recipe for poached chicken please seek out a smallish bird of impeccable quality. Organic, free-range, kosher. These birds still retain some of that true chicken flavor which has actually become rare in all that chicken we consume.
1 ounce yellow mustard seeds
1/4 dry white wine
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/2‑teaspoon ground horseradish
1/2‑teaspoon kosher salt
1/4‑teaspoon white pepper
1. In a non-reactive bowl combine all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day transfer the mixture to a mortar and pestle and work the mixture to the desired consistency. More vinegar may be necessary.
3. If you prefer a perfectly smooth texture the job goes quicker in a blender or mini food processor.
NOTE: I really wanted to use a mortar and pestle for this mustard so that I could honestly say this was a “hand-made” homemade mustard. But even trying as hard as I did I could not get this as smooth as I wanted.
This seems a simple but still elegant preparation for chicken so I felt a very smooth mustard was called for. In the end I used a blender and a whirrrrrrl! In about 45 seconds I had the silky texture I was hoping for! Air was beat in to boot, improving the color. Oh well… I try to remain true to my ideals. I really do.
I did save some of the coarser mustard for bratwurst and sauerkraut that I have planned for a weekend lunch with friends. So the effort was well worth it because I got mustard TWO ways.
1 stalk celery cut in half crosswise
2 onions cut in half
5 stems fresh Italian parsley
15 whole black peppercorns
1 3–4 lb whole chicken
1.Put the carrots, celery, onions parsley and peppercorns into a stockpot just large enough to hold the whole poached chicken without touching the sides of the pot. Rinse your chicken well. A clean bird will yield a more clear broth. Add the bird to the stockpot and cover with just enough cold water to completely submerge it.
2. Set the stockpot over medium-high heat, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and allow the liquid to come to a gentle simmer. The temperature is important so a thermometer might help. 160 degrees to 185 degrees is ideal. Even without a thermometer you will know when the temperature is correct. Small air bubbles will start to form at the bottom of the pot, but only a few bubbles will break the surface of the water.
3. Let the pot simmer at this temperature for about an hour. You will need to skim off any of the sludge and foam that forms on the surface as you go. Your goal is a crystal clear stock.
4. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot; set it aside to cool.
5. Strain the stock through a very fine sieve. Discard the solids, and transfer the stock to a metal bowl.
6. In order to have a crystal clear stock we need to remove the fat from the liquid. If you have time chill the stock over night and peel off the surface fat the next day. But if you plan to serve the stock the same day try this method: Fill a much larger bowl than your stock filled metal bowl with lots of ice. Place the metal bowl inside the larger bowl and fill it with enough water to come up the sides of the smaller metal bowl. When the stock becomes quite chilled (you may have to replace the ice bath several times) you can easily skim whatever fat comes to the surface. It’s time consuming but very satisfying work. This method is borrowed from Martha Stewart so let that mean what it will.
7. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle remove the skin and discard it. Pull the meat off the chicken keeping it in large chunks. It should pull off the bone easily.
8. To serve reheat the stock and taste for seasoning. Additional salt may be needed. The tiniest drizzle of apple cider vinegar could be nice too (less than 1/2 teaspoon).
9. Coat the bottom of each plate with a small amount of stock. This is not a soup. 1/8” on the bottom of the plate is sufficient. There will be plenty of leftover stock. So save it, please. Arrange the room temperature chicken pieces on each plate. Serve this with a green vegetable. I chose crisp, room temperature green beans, but asparagus would be nice too. Boiled baby red potatoes, and/or hard-boiled eggs are a nice touch, as are niçoise olives. These choices are completely up to you and your pantry. But please remember to serve it with plenty of toasted baguette slices and a big helping of the homemade mustard.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD