Main Course

Baked Cauliflower and Chicken with a Sage and Mustard Sauce

I was feeling for comfort…something warm, definitely creamy, with a little edge in flavor. Sage tastes a bit sweet, savory, yet slightly peppery and goes a long way when it comes to flavor, so use it sparingly. Whole grain mustard is zesty; Dijon mustard is sharp and pungent. But mix them all together and the combination will surprise you!
So, start by preheating the oven to 375°.
Use about a ¾ head of cauliflower, parted into florets. You can cut the florets too, if they are too large. Bite size pieces work well for me.
Butter a baking dish with about 1 tablespoon of butter making sure that all corners are well covered. If you need to use more, go right ahead. I used a baking dish that would hold all the ingredients in one to two layers.
Arrange the florets in a layer, in the baking dish.
Pour 6 tablespoons of chicken broth over the florets and season with ¼ teaspoon of salt, preferably kosher and black pepper. Cover well and tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 10 minutes while preparing the rest of the ingredients. This will soften the cauliflower just a bit so that once you add the chicken component the cauliflower isn’t overcooked at the end.
While the cauliflower is steaming away in the oven, start with the chicken mixture.
For the Chicken with Sage and Mustard Sauce
Cut six large deboned chicken thighs into ½ inch strips, or a bit larger if you like
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon of salt and ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper
Chop ½ of a medium onion and 2 cloves of garlic finely
10 small fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk and ½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 ounces grated gruyère
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In the mean time, season the chicken with salt and pepper. Sauté chicken till just before it reaches a nice golden color before adding the finely chopped onion and garlic. Once the onions and garlic are soften, add the chopped sage leaves and toss until the spice has been evenly distributed in the pan. Before pouring the whole milk and heavy cream mixture into the pan, whisk in the mustard, and then pour into the pan. Once the chicken with the milk and cream starts bubbling gently, you will notice that it’s also getting a bit thicker. If it’s not thickening to your liking, and you wish to have more of a thicker consistency, mix a ½ - 1 teaspoon of corn starch with a bit of water or chicken broth and pour into the skillet, that should do the trick, now make sure to stir constantly and evenly so that you don’t get a thick clump in one part of the pan. Once the sauce has thickened, remove the pan from the burner. Gently pour the mixture into the dish with the cauliflower florets and toss gently so that the cauliflower is well coated with the chicken sage and mustard sauce.
Cover the dish once again with the aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes covered. Take off the cover, sprinkle evenly over the entire mixture with the grated gruyère and bake a further 20 minutes uncovered. Voilà! A comforting dish to be enjoyed. This easily serves 4 persons. It can be accompanied with French bread, potatoes and even rice if you wish. Add a simple salad and you are good to go.
Bon Appétit.

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