Recipes: A Valentine’s Day menu with French inspiration

Makes 4 servings

In our version of this bistro classic, we lighten things up by swapping whole-milk yogurt for the usual heavy cream or crème fraîche. Just be sure not to use Greek, low-fat, or nonfat yogurt, as all have a tendency to break when heated. And to give the sauce texture and layers of mustardy flavor, we use both whole-grain and Dijon mustard.

The chicken is browned on the stovetop and finishes in the oven, so you will need an oven-safe, 12-inch skillet. The browned chicken should be returned to the pan only after the sauce mixture has reached a simmer; this ensures that the flour’s thickening power is activated and that its starchy taste has cooked out.

Serve with egg noodles tossed with butter and herbs or with roasted potatoes.

¼ cup whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry

1 tablespoon grape-seed or other neutral oil

2 medium shallots, halved and thinly sliced

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

¼ cup plain, whole-milk yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together both mustards and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper; set aside. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken skin side down and cook without disturbing until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Using tongs, transfer the chicken skin up to a plate, then spread ¼ cup of the mustard mixture evenly onto the skin sides.

Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat in the skillet and return the pan to medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and flour, then cook, stirring often, until the mixture is light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chicken pieces skin side up to the skillet and pour in the accumulated juices. Place the pan in the oven and cook until the thickest part of the thigh reaches about 175 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.

Transfer the chicken skin side up to a platter. Set the skillet over medium-high heat (the handle will be hot) and bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened and a spoon drawn through the sauce leaves a trail, 5 to 8 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in the remaining mustard mixture, the yogurt, and the tarragon. Season with salt and pepper, then spoon the sauce around the chicken.

Greens With Walnuts, Parmesan, and Pancetta VinaigretteConnie Miller/of CB Creatives

Greens With Walnuts, Parmesan, and Pancetta Vinaigrette

Makes 6 servings

Bitter greens pair with a rich dressing for this take on salade frisée aux lardons, typically made with frisée lettuce, a poached egg, and meaty salt pork for the lardons. We use pancetta and a combination of bitter greens such as frisée, endive, radicchio, escarole, or arugula. Top with a fried egg for a heartier meal evocative of this salad’s bistro roots.

To toast the walnuts, spread them evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes.

A sharp Y-shaped vegetable peeler is the perfect tool for shaving the Parmesan cheese.

The dressing should not be cooled before adding it to the greens. Its consistency is best when warm, and its heat slightly softens the sturdy greens. By the same token, make sure the greens are not cold when dressed so the dressing doesn’t congeal on contact.

12 ounces (12 cups) mixed bitter greens, torn

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

6 ounces thinly sliced ​​pancetta, chopped

1 medium shallot, finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about ½ cup)

Place the greens in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

In a medium skillet set over medium heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet, then return it to medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and the vinegar mixture, then remove from the heat and whisk until combined. Let sit for 30 seconds to warm through.

Add the warm dressing, walnuts, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the greens and toss well. Taste and season with salt. Divide the salad among plates and top each portion with pancetta and Parmesan.

Spiced Sweet Potato Tian.Connie Miller/of CB Creatives

Spiced Sweet Potato Tian

Makes 4 to 6 servings

To balance the natural sweetness of the potatoes, we toss the slices with vinegar, spices, and red pepper flakes, then tuck sliced ​​shallot, along with sage or rosemary leaves, in between the layers.

Sweet potatoes can vary greatly in size. Try to choose medium-sized ones that are about the same diameter so the slices fit neatly in the pie plate. The quickest way to slice them is with a mandoline — aim for slices about ƒ-inch thick. Don’t worry if you don’t have a mandoline — you can slice the potatoes by hand. Just try to keep the slices thin and even, no thicker than ¼ inch, or they will take longer to bake.

This can also be served with a pork roast or pork chops, or alongside a roasted turkey.

4 tablespoons salted butter, melted

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon cider vinegar or lime juice

½ teaspoon ground coriander or ground cumin, or both

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2½ pounds medium orange-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ​​into 1/8-inch rounds

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 medium shallot, sliced ​​into thin rings

1/3 cup lightly packed fresh sage or rosemary

Maple syrup or honey, to serve (optional)

Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the middle position. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter, oil, vinegar, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Brush half of this mixture on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

Arrange the potatoes in 2 concentric rings in the pie plate, shingling and tightly packing the slices. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper, then tuck the shallot slices and sage leaves between the potato slices. Drizzle with the remaining butter mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake until a skewer inserted into the center of the potatoes meets just a little resistance, about 40 minutes.

Uncover and bake until the potatoes are lightly browned and the edges are beginning to crisp and char, another 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Drizzle with maple syrup just before serving.


Christopher Kimball is the founder of Milk Street, home to a magazine, school, and radio and television shows. Globe readers get 12 weeks of complete digital access, plus two issues of Milk Street print magazine, for just $1. Go to 177milkstreet.com/globe. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

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