St. Bernard of Clairvaux Dijon Chicken

St. Bernard (August 20), mystic and Doctor of the Church, was a main propagator of the Cistercian reform and the founding abbot of Clairvaux Abbey in Burgundy. He was born in Fontaines-les-Dijon, France in 1090.

Dijon is the capital of the Burgundy region in France. The region is world famous for its Burgundy wine and its mustard. It had become a recognized center for mustard making by the 13th century. The creation of Dijon mustard as we know it  is credited to Jean Naigeon, who revolutionized the original mustard recipe by substituting verjuice (the sour juice of unripe grapes) for the vinegar traditionally used in the making of mustard. This resulted less acidic mustard with a smother flavor. 

To make Dijon mustard, ground black or brown mustard seeds are pressed and steeped in verjuice, or more recently in white wine. At one time, any product called Dijon mustard had to be made in the Dijon region of France. Other products could be called "Dijon-style mustard" or simply "dijon mustard" with a lowercase "D".  Today, however, the term Dijon mustard has become generic, so any mustard using the basic Dijon recipe can be called Dijon mustard.

Our family has a Dijon mustard based chicken recipe that has been a favorite for 30 years. It seems a fitting feast day meal for the eminent St. Bernard who hails from the Dijon area.

Dijon Chicken

1/2 cup butter 
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh or jarred)
2-3 T. dried parsley flakes
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cut in strips

Heat oven to 375°F.
Melt butter in small saucepan with minced garlic. After garlic has saut√©ed, add mustard and mix.  Let cool and whisk mixture to combine until creamy. Mix bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley in shallow bowl or pan.  Dip chicken into butter/mustard mixture, then dip in bread crumb mixture to coat both sides. Place in glass 9x13 pan. Bake uncovered 25 - 30 minutes, until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux is the author of the Marian prayer, The Memorare, which you may want add to your feast day meal prayer.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

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