Dijon Crusted Chicken Thighs with a Vermouth Creme Fraiche Sauce

I never ever get bored of lovely moist chicken thighs, succulent enough to tolerate lack of attention, neglect even, and much less expensive than chicken breasts; what's not to love? The soft Dijon coating here is milder in flavour than expected and a lovely foil for the Vermouth sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 tbsps. olive oil

  • 1 fat clove garlic

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, excess skin trimmed away

  • 100g Dijon mustard

  • 100ml dry Vermouth

  • 200ml full fat creme fraiche

  • 1 tsp. paprika

  • Black pepper

  • squeeze lemon juice 

  • small knob of butter

  • Oven 190c

Method:

  • Put 1 tbsp. of the oil into a small saucepan with the chopped onion and fry gently with a pinch of salt (to stop the onion sticking) until translucent and soft.

  • Grate in the garlic and stir to combine.  Now tip the onion and garlic into a roasting pan in which the chicken thighs can fit snugly in a single layer.

  • Put the chicken thighs, skin side up, on top of the onions and garlic.

  • Stir the remaining tbsp. of olive oil into the Dijon mustard and spread this mustard mixture all over the thighs.  

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  • Season with black pepper only (the mustard is salty)

  • Being careful not to interfere with the mustard topping, add the vermouth and bake uncovered in the oven 190c for approximately 45 minutes by which time the chicken should be thoroughly cooked.

  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a serving dish, cover and keep warm.

  • Bring the winey chicken juices up to boiling and bubble to reduce at least to half its original volume, this should take about 5 minutes.

  • Add the creme fraiche, stir in the paprika and bubble to reduce again, ideally to a coating consistency, but don't stress about this, just reduce to a consistency you like.  Taste, season if necessary and add a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten the flavour.

  • When you are ready to serve, re-heat the sauce in the pan, whisk in the knob of butter to make the sauce shine and pour around the chicken.  

:Helpful Hints and Avoiding Stumbles:

​Trim the chicken skin fairly severely to prevent it making your sauce oily

If the chicken is very tightly packed in the roasting tin, the time it takes to cook (particularly those thighs in the middle of the tin) could be affected.  Always check chicken is thoroughly cooked; they should probe 74c.

 

If preparing this ahead, keep the chicken and sauce separate until the chicken is served. 

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