DIJON DRUMSTICKS OVER SPRING ASPARAGUS

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Savor the flavors of French cooking with this mouth-watering recipe. This easy crock pot recipe blends the flavors of white wine, fresh thyme and dijon mustard into subtle flavors. Adding spring asparagus, when in season, gives a fresh balance to the rich meat sauce.

Chicken drumsticks are one of the cheapest cuts of chicken to buy. There’s more demand for breast, thigh and wings, so the drumsticks seem to always be on sale. We found our local grocery store with a sale on antibiotic-free, organic and raised without hormone drumsticks for a mere 99¢ per pound. We couldn’t pass up such a deal, so we bought 10 pounds of goodness. Thankfully we have space in a dedicated meat freezer! As an added bonus, you get to save all the bones to reuse for bone broth.

Allergens and substitutions: None.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Chicken has high levels of vitamin B along with being a high source of protein, the building block of muscles. Only buy chicken (and all other poultry) that is raised without antibiotics to get truly healthy meat. Read the ingredients on the sausages. Food manufacturers can hide some horrible ingredients in tube meat. If you cannot pronounce it or recognize the ingredient, it’s best to not eat it. Honorable mention goes to Applegate Organics meats for producing real food available widely in the US. It’s not cheap, but real food raised properly seldom is.

 

Asparagus contains antioxidants, fiber, B vitamins and supports the digestive system. This unique looking vegetable contains inulin, a prebiotic that encourages healthy digestion through good bacteria. Asparagus also contains glutathione and rutin which protect cells against oxidative stress and is anti-inflammatory. Look for asparagus in the spring when it is fresh and in season. Store asparagus in the refrigerator in a jar or glass with the bottom 1″ of stalk covered in water.

 

Broth made from the bones of animals raised on a healthy diet provides deep rich flavor to recipes and countless nutritional benefits. Simmering the bones over low heat for hours brings out high amounts of rich collagen, providing for stronger bones, full-bodied hair and superior skin health. Store bought broth is much lower in nutrients compared to homemade broth. Save all your animal bones from past meals in your freezer and make a batch of bone broth every few weeks. Your body will thank you for it. Here’s our recipe for browned bone broth.

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this savory meal. Fresh thyme is usually easy to find in stores. We have a large pot of it growing in our back yard, since we tend to use it often. (It’s also a great way to save some money! We planted one 4 years ago and it’s still producing aromatic sprigs.) In a pinch, dried thyme works, too, but it’s less flavorful. If you have any leftover thyme you can freeze it for later use.

We always have some red and white wine in the refrigerator for cooking. For this recipe we used a dry, cheap pinot grigio. Any unoaked chardonnay or sauvignon blanc would also do well. No need to spend a lot of money on cooking wine. Typically, we buy the Charles Shaw from Trader Joe’s or as it’s known in these parts “two buck Chuck”. If you’re short on wine or forgot to buy it, just use some clean, filtered water.

Time savers: You can use frozen, diced onions for this recipe. This will save some time dicing and crying in the kitchen. Crushed garlic from a jar or garlic powder will save you a few minutes also. If you prefer your chicken without the bones or skin, simply substitute 1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

It’s good practice to pull out all the pots and pans you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

If you’re using homemade bone broth it will have more flavor than the store-bought variety. Always dilute your bone broth 1:1. Since it is much more concentrated, use 1 cup of bone broth and 1 cup of water in place of the 2 cups of store-bought broth.

The best store-bought broth at Trader Joe’s is the Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. The other selections contain some poor quality ingredients, such as dextrose, cane sugar, caramel color and yeast extract (read: MSG). Choose carefully since this food stuff can go from a healing food to a toxic one.

Let’s get cooking! Pull out a crock-pot or a large stock pan.

Optional: If you want to make a silky meat sauce/gravy later, take the extra time and pureé some of the ingredients before putting into the crock-pot. Grab a blender or food processor and add the broth, olive oil, white wine, diced or quartered onion, garlic and dijon mustard. Blend on medium intensity for about 1-2 minutes or until combined. This makes it easier to strain out the solids from the liquid when it’s done cooking.

Place the defrosted chicken in your crock-pot or stock pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, optional red chili flakes and optional thyme over the meat. We left the skin intentionally on. There’s some healthy collagen and healing fat in it. You can remove it beforehand if you do not care for it.

Pour the blended ingredients over the drumsticks. If you did not blend those, simply add them all to your crock-pot. Place the broth, olive oil, white wine, diced or quartered onion, garlic and dijon mustard over the chicken. Give it a good stir to merge the ingredients. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.

It’s so easy, right? We love these “dump and run” recipes. If we have enough time in the morning we will get the crock-pot going, so we return to one delicious smelling home. (It must be torture for our food-driven dog. #sorrynotsorry) You can always use a manual outlet timer on the basic crock-pots. The fancier crock-pots are nice since they allow you to set the times for switching from high to low to warm.

Dijon Drumsticks Crock Pot diabetic meal plan food list low carb lchfOptional: Make some meat sauce! Once the crock-pot is done cooking and that tender meat is falling off the bone, it’s time to start a quick gravy. Remove the chicken meat, bones and skin from the crock-pot with some tongs. Set aside on a plate. Pull out a medium-sized sauce pan and a fine mesh strainer or colander. Ladle or carefully pour the hot meat sauce through the strainer and into the sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium and allow the sauce to reduce by 1/3-1/2 in volume. Stir often.

Once the crock-pot has finished its magic, you can prep the veggies. Asparagus comes in a few colors and sizes. The ones shown below are thick and green. But we have seen purple and white before at some farmers’ markets. On all asparagus, cut the bottom 1″ off and discard. It’s tough and woody to eat. These thicker types also benefit with an optional quick peel of the lower two inches. If you’re cooking with the thin kind, they do not need to be peeled as such.

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Bring a large skillet up to medium heat. A cast-iron skillet does well for this. Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Toss the asparagus in and sprinkle with some salt, pepper and optional red chili flakes. Pan fry for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Work in batches if needed. Take caution not to cook them too long. An overcooked asparagus gets limp and mushy. Serve the meat over or under the sauce with the asparagus on the side.

Serving Size: Once cooked, split the chicken, meat sauce and asparagus evenly 3 or 4 ways. The 1,500 calorie plan gets 4 servings and the 2,000 calorie plan has 3 servings.

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DIJON DRUMSTICKS OVER SPRING ASPARAGUS
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Savor the flavors of French cooking with this mouth-watering recipe. This easy crock pot recipe blends the flavors of white wine, fresh thyme and dijon mustard into subtle flavors. Adding spring asparagus, when in season, gives a fresh balance to the rich meat sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: French
Serves: 40 oz
Ingredients
  • 2 lb Chicken, Drumsticks NO ANTIBIOTICS (Sub: Thighs)
  • 1X Onions, Yellow or Sweet, Peeled and Quartered
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 c Chicken Broth
  • 1 c White Wine
  • ¼ c Dijon Mustard
  • 4 sprigs Thyme
  • 1.5 lb Asparagus
  • ½ c Olive Oil, Extra Virgin
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Red Chili Flakes
Instructions
  1. Optional: If you want to make a silky meat sauce/gravy later, take the extra time and pureé some of the ingredients before putting into the crock-pot. Grab a blender or food processor and add the broth, olive oil, white wine, diced or quartered onion, garlic and dijon mustard. Blend on medium intensity for about 1-2 minutes or until combined.
  2. Place the defrosted chicken in your crock-pot or stock pan. Spring the salt, pepper, optional red chili flakes and optional thyme over the meat. We left the skin intentionally. There’s some healthy collagen and healing fat in it. You can remove it beforehand if you do not care for it.
  3. Pour the blended ingredients over the drumsticks. If you did not blend those, simply add them all to your crock-pot. Place the broth, olive oil, white wine, diced or quartered onion, garlic and dijon mustard over the chicken. Give it a good stir to merge the ingredients. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
  4. Optional: Make some meat sauce! Once the crock-pot is done cooking and that tender meat is falling off the bone, it’s time to start a quick gravy. Remove the chicken meat, bones and skin from the crock-pot with some tongs. Set aside on a plate. Pull out a medium-sized sauce pan and a fine mesh strainer or colander. Ladle or carefully pour the hot meat sauce through the strainer and into the sauce pan. Turn the heat to medium and allow the sauce to reduce by ⅓-1/2 in volume. Stir often.
  5. On all asparagus, cut the bottom 1″ off and discard. It’s tough and woody to eat. These thicker types also benefit with an optional quick peel of the lower two inches. If you’re cooking with the thin kind, they do not need to be peeled as such.
  6. Bring a large skillet up to medium heat. A cast-iron skillet does well for this. Add about 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and allow it to get hot. Toss the asparagus in and sprinkle with some salt, pepper and optional red chili flakes. Pan fry for 3-5 minutes or until browned. Work in batches if needed. Take caution not to cook them too long. An overcooked asparagus gets limp and mushy. Serve the meat over or under the sauce with the asparagus on the side.
  7. Serving Size: Once cooked, split the chicken, meat sauce and asparagus evenly 3 or 4 ways. The 1,500 calorie plan gets 4 servings and the 2,000 calorie plan has 3 servings.

 

Photo by Fotolia and Jason Hargrove.