8 & $20 Recipe: Mustard-Braised Chicken and Chardonnay

The creamy sauce gets a mellow kick from Dijon mustard

Eight ingredients. That’s all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you’ve got a weeknight feast for family or friends. That’s the philosophy behind our “8 & $20” feature. We hope it adds pleasure to your table.

Like sequins and shined shoes, any recipe containing the phrase “to finish the sauce” is a little too fancy for Tuesday. But trust us: This one, with chicken thighs braised in white wine and shallots and, yes, a sauce finished with heavy cream, is an easy way to bring special-occasion status to the weeknight dinner table.

Here, Dijon mustard pulls double duty, as both a quick marinade for the meat and also a kick to finish the simple sauce. Barely-cooked spinach makes an earthy counterpoint, while sprinkling toasted sliced almonds and minced tarragon on at the end adds texture and bright flavor to the crisp-skinned chicken thighs.

Using wine as a braising liquid makes this dish naturally wine-friendly, but the sauce, made from stirring mustard and heavy cream into the braising liquid, is rich, so you’ll want a wine with some weight. A Spanish white made from Godello grapes was pretty, ripe and round, but disappeared with the food. A Chardonnay from South Africa, however, held its own. The golden-colored wine, which was partially barrel-fermented in new oak, was lush, appley and crisp alongside the sauce.