Pan-Roasted Chicken with Beer and Grainy Mustard Sauce



By Cat, Oct 2007 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

Pan roasting was a new experience for me; but after trying Pan-Roasted Chicken Breasts, with Herb & Wine Sauce, originally from Cook’s Magazine, I was hooked. It’s quick and easy, and the result is delicious. Slow roasting in the oven is probably a more healthful way to roast meats, but takes much longer.

This version uses a finishing sauce made with stale beer (ale) and grainy mustard, which is a delicious combination.

Nov 2017: I just added Cat’s Whole Grain Mustard Spread recipe on its own page, but I keep it here as well.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Beer & Grainy Mustard Sauce

This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking, originally by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell (1). While the original serves 4, I’ve cut this in half to serve 2.

The original recipe sears the chicken in a pan using olive oil, then roasts it in the oven, but I like to roast it in my cast iron skillet, with lid. And I don’t use olive oil for the searing because it is not good for high heat cooking, which creates free radicals from the fatty acids in the oil. Instead, I use lard or bacon fat; or you could use coconut oil or ghee. See Good fats for cooking for more information.

For the sauce, you can make a roux (or buerre manie) with flour as in the original, but I prefer to make a buerre manie with flour or tapioca starch and butter (instructions included).

Whole-grain mustard is not the same as ground mustard nor prepared mustard, but rather whole or partially ground seeds combined with seasonings like honey, turmeric, garlic & brown sugar (from (2)). If you can’t find this at the store, I include a homemade version that I used when I tested the recipe.

See below for testing – excellent!

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs OR 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, OR 1-each half-breast, wing, thigh and drumstick, OR 1 Cornish game hen, halved
  • 1 medium shallot
  • Unrefined sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp lard, bacon fat, or ghee
  • ¾ tsp unbleached white flour or tapioca starch
  • ½ cup amber lager
  • ⅓ cup homemade chicken stock
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp chopped fresh thyme plus more for garnish
  • ½ Tbsp whole-grain mustard (Or see Cat’s Whole-Grain Mustard, below.)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Equipment:
  • large bowl (for brining)
  • cast iron skillet with lid
  • splatter screen
  • sauce whisk


  1. Prep: Brine chicken breast or both halves of a game hen. You can brine the other pieces if desired. After brining, rinse and pat dry, then let sit on a plate, uncovered, in refrigerator for several hours or overnight, to dry out the skin. Season all pieces with pepper, and any un-brined pieces with salt.
  2. Mince the shallot and set aside.
  3. Cook Chicken: Heat oil/lard in skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange chicken/hen in pan, skin side down in a single layer. Cover with splatter screen and cook until skin is deep golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Turn pieces over and lightly sear the other side, about 3 minutes.
  4. Turn again so skin-side is down. Cover pan and roast on stove-top until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 170 F, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
  5. Sauce: Reduce heat to medium and pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat from skillet. Add shallots and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. If desired, stir in the flour or tapioca starch until combined in a roux and cook 1-2 minutes to lightly brown the flour. Or make a buerre manie using scant 1 tsp flour/tapioca starch and scant 1 tsp butter, mashed together then rolled into 2 small balls; add to pan and whisk until dissolved and sauce thickens.
  6. Stir in beer, stock, maple syrup and thyme, plus any juices that have escaped from the resting chicken pieces. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Simmer vigorously until reduced to about ½ cup, about 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat & whisk in mustard, then butter. Adjust seasoning with salt & pepper.

To Serve:

  • Dip each piece in the sauce and turn to coat. Spoon remaining sauce over all. Garnish with sprigs or leaves of fresh thyme.
  • Serve with braised Brussels sprouts or other brassica, which go well with the beer-mustard sauce.

Cat’s Whole Grain Mustard Spread

Makes about ½ Tbsp.

  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced to yield ¼ tsp
  • ⅛ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp honey

Crack the mustard seeds with mortar and pestle. Mince garlic, sprinkle with salt, then mash to a paste with side of knife blade. Combine garlic pulp with cracked mustard and honey, stirring to combine.


12/19/11: I used 1 brined, large half-breast, halved (each piece is about 6 oz). Made as written, but only used 1 tsp maple syrup in the sauce, and IPA (bitter beer) because that’s all I had on-hand. For whole-grain mustard, I ground 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds in my mortar just enough to crack some of them, then minced 1/ tsp garlic and smashed it to pulp with ⅛ tsp salt. Added garlic pulp with ¼ tsp honey to mustard, stirring to combine. This made about ½ Tbsp.

This is relatively quick and easy to prepare, takes about 45 minutes start to finish (not including brining time). Result: very good, tho the sauce is slightly bitter from the IPA. Would definitely be better with amber ale. My mustard mix (with honey and pressed garlic) is very good. Reheated second serving, skin-side up, in an uncovered Corningware dish, with sauce, in 300°F oven for about 20 minutes. Skin did not get soft; chicken still moist and the bitterness from the IPA in the sauce had mellowed. I think this dish was even better after reheating.

3/7/13: Used ½ chicken, cut into pieces (drumstick, thigh, wing, and half-breast cut again in half), for 2 servings. Used IPA beer as before, and mixed up my own mustard as before. Omitted maple syrup. Result: very good, and quick.

5/17/15: Used butterflied game hen, brined and then cut apart at the breast bone. Used IPA and mixed up my own grainy mustard, as before. Seared both sides, but the non-skin side (the inside of the bird) didn’t brown much. Then turned back to skin-side down, covered partially with lid, and roasted at medium high for 17 minutes. Turned over and roasted another 12 minutes. Made sauce as before except I forgot to add the butter. Result: just a tad bitter from the IPA, but delicious. However, with the sauce it is quite messy to eat. I think it is easier with chicken than a half-hen.


  1. Fine Cooking recipe, originally by Dawn Yanagihara-Mitchell (
  2. recipe for whole-grain mustard (

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