Beer and Mustard Chicken

Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.

– Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

During this past week I’ve been at home alone because Mr. H. was away on a business trip. This gave me plenty of time to speak to myself, time for introspection. On the last day it hit me. All of a sudden I had a realisation and it made complete sense:

I am a creative person. And I actually don’t have a scientific mind.

What? Considering that the degrees I hold are in pharmacy and pharmacy related, and that all of my professional life have revolved around these areas, for a moment it was a bit of a shock. But only for a moment.

I mean, don’t worry, I obviously understand science and medicine because of my training and experience. I don’t work in a pharmacy now, but when I have done I loved it. If I could, I wouldn’t not reconsider working in pharmacy again. I think what I loved about it was being with people and the creative aspects of helping them solve problems.

I realise that I don’t fill my head and my time with scientific experiments and what not. I only want to fill my time with creativity and art to some extent, I just want to play the piano, write, photograph, and make things with my hands. Even though I don’t live off any of these things, fortunately I do not work with test tubes and through the years I unconsciously found a way to evolve my profession towards a mix between science and creativity (in the artistic sense, not in the mixing things in test tubes to see what we get sense).

So, I asked, why on earth did I study something scientific? When I was young I lived in lots of different countries. This meant that the only linear part of my academic education was the scientific part. Because of that, it only made sense that I would go on to study something scientific. If it weren’t for that, if I would have stayed in the same place, might I have gone of to do a career in something artistic instead?

I have no idea…

Chicken with beer and mustard

Beer mustard chicken

Beer and Mustard Chicken

The weather has been horrid here for the last week. Remember the screenshot I showed you in my previous post, yep, apart from the moment of sunshine that permitted my boiler to be fixed, the rest of the days have been exactly like in the screenshot. Rain, rain, rain, which calls for some comfort food.

Last time I was in the North of France by bought a recipe book that featured typical Ch’ti recipes with lots of comfort food. Ch’ti is what they call the people, or the culture even, from the very Northen French regions that touch Belgium, and with many Belgian aspects in their culture. The recipe book includes lots of recipes that use beer, so I’ve been experimenting with some of them. Hey, they’re great! This chicken wasn’t a recipe as such, but it was a typical Sofia observes five different recipes then creates her own using the technique learnt from all five kind of recipe.


1 chicken, 1 litre beer, 1 tablespoon mustard, 3 shallots, 2tablespoons flour, 1 bunch rosemary, 1 bunch thyme, 5 laurel leaves, 2 tablespoons butter, salt, black pepper

Cut the chicken into quarters. The ladies at the chicken stall in the market did that for me.

Heat the butter in a large pot, I used a Dutch oven. Add the chicken and cook over medium heat until more or less golden. Remove the chicken.

Peel and slice the shallots. In the same pot and the same butter, add the shallots. Cook over low heat for a few minutes until they are soft.

Add the chicken again. Add the mustard. Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook for about one minute. Add the beer slowly. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Cook over low-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Typically serve with French fries or mashed potato. Here it was served with mashed potato and turnip purée, both made by Mr. H. In other words, this dish was made with team work.

Enjoy your meal!

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  1. Ginger 2014-11-30 at 14:59

    What a fantastic combination – chicken and beer! I can see the Belgium influence 😉

    1. Sofia 2014-12-01 at 08:22

      Oh yes they are very Belgian influenced up there in the north! 😉

  2. Sunny 2014-11-30 at 16:00

    Hahaha I was like “beer. This sounds Belgian!” Well I was close 🙂 It’s great that you’re both scientific and creative: two of the things I so am not LOL

    1. Sofia 2014-11-30 at 21:31

      The recipes in the book use Belgian beer, lol. I just used normal Spanish beer… Hey I have no doubt that you’re creative!

  3. Mabel Kwong 2014-12-01 at 03:37

    It sounds like you’re a jack of all trades…you can understand scientific facts and formulas, and you are in touch with your artistic side. Sounds like there’s nothing you can’t do. Do you enjoy one of them more? I did both maths and cultural studies in my degrees…I was always good at math but struggled so much with the creative side of things. Then I realised with creativity, there are no rules… 😀

    1. Sofia 2014-12-01 at 07:51

      As I say in my post, I discovered I don’t have a scientific mind. So thats why I don;t enjoy maths etc, and I only enjoy things I create.. But you’re creative, you write Mabel!!! 🙂

      1. Mabel Kwong 2014-12-02 at 12:37

        Being a writer, you need to be logical too. Establishing “flow” is tricky for me. But you studied pharmacy, so you should have a scientific mind to some degree!!!

  4. Guillermina Stover 2014-12-01 at 04:03

    You, my dear, are a well-rounded individual. Scientific means practical, in my book, so you chose a practical career—and then you enjoyed the creative aspects of it! This dish looks yummy…

    1. Sofia 2014-12-01 at 07:48

      Yeah but I discovered a don’t have a scientific mind, which was a bit of a shock for a moment. The dish is yummy, I’m going to make more things from that book!

  5. Guillermina Stover 2014-12-01 at 04:04

    Oh! I just noticed…you re-designed the font. I like it!

    1. Sofia 2014-12-01 at 07:50

      I redid the font a while back! I saw your comment on my mobile and got a bit of a scare (what, have my fonts un-programmed themselves again?? – it happens sometimes) but no 🙂 I do see that wordpress has put that Christmas snow on again, I didn’t turn it off from last year so they must have automatically put it back on now. It’s cute 🙂

  6. Karen 2014-12-01 at 15:43

    Comforting as well as delicious. The mashed turnip and potatoes were perfect for enjoying the tasty sauce.

    1. Sofia 2014-12-02 at 11:11

      They are also very Ch’ti northern French style!

  7. Amanda 2014-12-01 at 21:28

    What an awesome recipe! Who doesn’t like beer and mustard….and on chicken? Yum!

    1. Sofia 2014-12-02 at 11:12

      Indeed! Actually this recipe in the book was for rabbit, and the recipe for chicken had cherry beer… one day I’ll do the cherry beer chicken recipe 🙂

  8. Liz 2014-12-02 at 04:12

    great recipe! And love the introspection that comes with it 🙂 Stay warm and dry…

    1. Sofia 2014-12-02 at 11:13

      Oh thanks Liz. You too, stay warm and dry, winter is approaching! xx

  9. Dalo 2013 2014-12-05 at 06:29

    Chicken & beer put together so creatively 🙂 And a good combination to sit down and think about such philosophical thoughts wondering what could have been ~ I think you have this perfect balance of practicality (science and linear thinking) with very passionate hobbies like your piano, photography and travel/culture and food. Wish you a great weekend!

    1. Sofia 2014-12-05 at 12:33

      Hey I had never cooked with beer until a couple of weeks ago following this Ch’ti book, and now I love it!
      I’m glad you think it’s a nice balance, because I was worried that maybe my inner self would be off track or something… But yeah, I somehow find myself craving creativity more and lesser scientific issues. Weird. Where are you now? Have a great weekend!

      1. Dalo 2013 2014-12-06 at 03:21

        I was in Tacloban, Philippines and just got out before the typhoon came in ~ and now in HK for a day until back to Hangzhou for my final week before leaving for the States for Christmas (yeah!!!).

        Wish you a great, creative week ~ I think it is good for creativity to bloom as we grow older 🙂 Cheers!

  10. pianolearner 2014-12-08 at 00:02

    A really interesting post, and a great looking recipe, we do a similar one with cider. I made a chicken curry tonight but I thought I would add some extra chilli and garlic with the usual onions, chicken, passata, homemade curry paste and coconut milk, because sometimes our curry paste is not hot enough. Anyway the curry was really tasty (we cook it for 2 hours in the oven). It was only after we had finished it that I remembered that I forgot to put the curry paste in! Good job I added the (supposed to be extra) chilli and garlic….

    1. Sofia 2014-12-08 at 01:06

      You forgot the curry paste? Thats too funny 🙂

  11. Jack Flacco 2014-12-10 at 13:52

    This looks absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing, Sofia!

  12. laurasmess 2014-12-14 at 10:31

    Can I just stop and drool right now?! I thought I had already commented on this post but obviously not. Beer, potatoes, chicken, mustard? HEAVENLY. The perfect recipe for a cold evening and hungry bellies 🙂 xx

    1. Sofia 2014-12-14 at 18:50

      Haha indeed, the discovery of making food with beer Belgium / Northern France style has been a great discovery for me! Totally recommend it for you,… um later on when you are into winter perhaps 🙂


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