Bernard is one of the great teachers in Christian history (designated a Doctor of the Church). He was an eloquent preacher and writer and spent much of his days combating heresies. Even the Protestant Reformers like Martin Luther quoted him on the importance of salvation by faith.
It should be mentioned that Bernards legacy is tarnished from his involvement in encouraging the crusades. Yet, he is most celebrated for his way with words. He is credited with writing great hymns like “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” and “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee.”
We are celebrating him with a French feast of Dijon Chicken.
The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504
2 boneless skin-on chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
- Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 450°F. Pat chicken breasts dry and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in an oven-safe medium skillet over high heat until just starting to smoke. Carefully lay chicken breasts into hot skillet skin side down. Cook without moving until skin is deep golden brown and very crisp, about 6 minutes. Carefully flip chicken breasts and transfer skillet to the oven.
- While chicken roasts, add stock to a liquid measuring cup and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Set aside.
- Cook chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken breasts registers 150°F, about 7 to 12 minutes. Remove skillet from oven and transfer chicken to a cutting board. Set aside to rest while you make the pan sauce.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet and place over high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bourbon and cook scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add the mustard and the stock/gelatin mixture and cook on high heat until sauce is reduced by about two-thirds, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in butter, soy sauce, and lemon juice and cook at a hard boil about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.