Slow-Cooker Dijon Chicken With Barley and Mushrooms
This glossy, risotto-like dish is inspired by the French bistro classic of chicken in tarragon-mustard sauce. Here, those flavors are transformed into a whole-grain, one-pot weeknight meal: The barley, mushrooms and chicken cook together first, then just before eating, finish with a bag of frozen peas and a tangy mixture of crème fraîche (or sour cream) and Dijon. Make the dish vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using your favorite vegetable broth, but add about ½ cup more liquid, to substitute for the chicken juices.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1 ½cups pearled barley
- 1pound sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 4cups chicken broth
- ¼cup lemon juice (from about 1 large lemon)
- ¼cup dry white wine
- 6garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
- 4thyme sprigs, leaves picked (about 2 teaspoons), or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 2teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1teaspoon onion powder
- ½teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Black pepper
- 1(10-ounce) bag frozen peas
- ¼cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 2heaping tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard, plus more to taste
- ⅓to ½ cup chopped fresh tarragon or dill, to taste
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Step 1In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the barley, mushrooms, chicken, chicken broth, lemon juice, white wine, garlic, thyme, salt, onion powder, red-pepper flakes and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine, then cook for 3 hours on high.
Step 2At first it will seem like there is too much liquid, but the dish will thicken as it cools, and as you stir. Stir in the frozen peas and let them heat through, about 2 minutes.
Step 3In a small bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and mustard, then fold it into the barley mixture. The chicken thighs should be falling apart; break them into coarse chunks with a spatula. Taste and add more mustard for a stronger flavor, if desired. Stir in the chopped tarragon and serve. Pass Parmesan at the table for topping.