Dijon-Smothered Chicken Legs With Broccolini

Dijon mustard is a great way to add flavor to chicken while keeping it juicy.

When it comes to making great chicken, keeping it juicy and flavorful is the name of the game. There’s nothing worse than cutting into a beautifully-cooked bird and finding that it’s just too dry to properly eat. When chicken isn’t prepared properly, it can go from succulent to bland or even inedible in a hurry.

Luckily, that’s not a worry with dijon-smothered chicken legs with broccolini. Using dijon mustard is a great way to keep chicken from getting dried out, and the addition of broccolini brings some necessary freshness to the dinner. It’s an excellent combination that provides all the flavors you need from a first-class meal while keeping the preparation straightforward.

Why Smother Chicken Legs?

Chicken is one of the easiest meats to dry out because it just doesn’t have a lot of natural fat to keep it moist. The majority of the fat in chicken comes from the skin, and many people choose to cook cuts of meat without the skin on, either because of convenience or because of a fear of eating those fats.

The good news for chicken legs is that they have more fat on them than chicken breasts do, but they don’t have as much as chicken thighs. That’s because there just isn’t as much meat on the leg as there is on the thigh, so even though it’s dark meat rather than white meat, it’s still possible to dry it out. It’s a lot harder to dry out a chicken leg than it is a breast, but it’s still something that can happen because the proteins break down, making the meat tougher and drier.

Why Use Dijon to Avoid Drying Out?

There are two main reasons to use dijon as your main weapon against dry chicken instead of water. The first is the chance to add a layer of flavor to your dish, something water does not offer. When you incorporate a condiment, such as mayonnaise or mustard, you’re bringing that flavor into your dish and using it to create a completely different taste. Given how bland many people find chicken to be, the addition of new flavors is often a welcome one.

The other reason is that water is actually ineffective at preventing dry chicken. In fact, adding water can actually backfire because water pulls proteins out of the bird faster, which can speed up the drying out process. In this case, it’s far better to use a condiment coating that will keep the chicken moist.

What are the Benefits of Broccolini?

If you’re familiar with broccoli, you know a little about broccolini, which is a mixture of broccoli and Chinese kale. Like broccoli, broccolini provides a good amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and potassium. Broccolini also provides a mild flavor when it’s cooked as opposed to the more bitter broccoli, making it a good choice for younger eaters.

How Do You Make Dijon-Smothered Chicken Legs?

The way you make this dish is to first make your sauce, a mix of white wine, cream, Dijon mustard and thyme. While you’re doing this, saute your chicken legs to get a nice sear and prepare the broiler for your broccolini. When the sauce is ready, pour over the chicken and cook until it’s golden brown. At the same time, your broccolini should be finishing in the broiler, making for a great meal for everyone.

Any time you can find a new way to keep chicken juicy, you’ve got a great dish on your hands. By making a sauce from a common condiment, you can come up with a brand new way to serve chicken — in a way that your family will want to eat!

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