Cheater, Cheater French-Food Eater: Gabon’s Mustard Chicken and Cucumber Salad

Here I am, my last meal in Central Africa. I know it seems like my efforts have been crap…and they have. I just had a really hard time finding anything to get excited about and, once I picked my foods, had a trouble getting psyched about anything I picked.   Central Africa’s cuisine is pretty limited, by both environmental and economic conditions.  The poor soil combined with the questionable weather means that the central African diet is very corn-heavy, with lots of soups and stews.  So…something different (sarcasm).


Still recovering from the less than appetizing Isombe, I decided to take advantage of the European influence throughout central Africa by making a dish that is African, but not.  Gabon’s cuisine, especially in the more metropolitan areas, is heavily influenced by the French.  Therefore, today’s dinner of Mustard Chicken tastes a lot like what I made earlier in my trip. The sauce in the recipe I found was just not enough so, staying true to French cooking, I added some white wine to stretch it a bit.  Served over rice and with a side of veg, it was a delicious way to fill a tummy emptied after 5 hours of dancing (Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend!).




4 chicken thighs (I just really like chicken thighs), boneless and skinless

2 cloves garlic

1 medium onion, sliced

¼ cup mustard (I used a coarse-grained Dijon)

½ cup white wine

2 lemons, juiced

Parsley to garnish

Rice to accompany

Olive oil to cook

mustard chicken



  1. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat and coat the bottom with olive oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and sear about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.
  2. To the same pan, add the onions and cook until translucent, about  5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another three minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping the chicken bits from the pan.
  3. Add the mustard and the lemon juice.  Add the chicken back to the pan, cover with foil and then the lid. Reduce the heat to low and cook until chicken is done, about 35-40 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice and garnish with parsley.


Since the weather’s getting warmer, I also figured I’d start taking advantage of eating more fresh rather than frozen veggies and made a  cucumber salad as a side. My mom used to make one at least once a week when I was a kid and, while not a fan back then, I’ve come to appreciate its simplicity now.

Recipe adapted from


1 large onion, sliced paper thin

2 medium tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 bunch parsley, minced

2 TB olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp minced mint

1 TB cumin

Salt and black pepper



1.  Slice the onion paper  and cut the tomato into thin slices. Peel the cucumber, slice in half and then cut into long thin slices (about the same length as the tomato). Mix together the onion, tomato cucumber and parsley.

2.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and toss.




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