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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Defense of Dijon I

Though we are not about to get into political discussions at Eat Well, Eat Cheap, we were amused and befuddled by right-wing commentators’ recent botched attempts to drag Dijon mustard into the culture wars. Arugula and lattes kind of made sense—even though it’s silly to demonize food, everybody got the allusion. But mustard?

As it happens, Ruth’s mother, a devout nonelitist and an upstanding American, always kept a jar of Grey Poupon in her refrigerator, between the Velveeta and the Miracle Whip, one shelf above the Smucker’s.

We were gratified to see the Dijon “controversy” fall flat. It seems that whether they are on the right or the left, most Americans love the spicy mustard—with good reason. Delivering maximum flavor and zero fat, it adds piquancy to everything from salad dressings to sandwiches to marinades like this one, which has been adapted from James Beard. He used rabbit, but this is wonderful with poultry or pheasant.


Protein of your choice (Beard uses 1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces)
8-ounce jar creamy (not grainy) Dijon mustard 
1 large onion, quartered
red wine

4 T. butter
2 T. olive oil
1 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt, fresh-ground pepper to taste

Optional: 2 T. flour mixed with 1 T. butter

1. Smear your protein with mustard. Arrange the pieces in a glass bowl with the onion, then cover with red wine. Marinate for at least 24 hours.

2. Lift the protein pieces out of the marinade. Scrape off the mustard, letting it fall back into the marinade. (If you like things a little less mustardy, you should discard the scraped-off mustard.)

3. Heat butter with oil in large sautĂ© pan. Brown the protein on all sides, then place in a casserole. 

4. Season protein with thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Pour the wine-mustard marinade mixture over the protein, cover, and bake in a 350-degree oven for about an hour.

5. When the protein is done, arrange it on a platter and keep it warm. 

6. Add a cup of red wine to the marinade and reduce the liquid by half. (If you like, you can thicken the sauce with butter and flour, mixed together and added gradually.)

Serve with boiled potatoes or wild rice, to either liberals or conservatives. 

1 comment:

  1. I just made chicken tenders (boneless skinless breasts) using that whole grain mustard in the marinade It gives such great flavor! I grilled them, but maybe I will try putting them in the oven next time.