I know. I’m prone to saying that — “my new favorite” — but here’s the thing, I mean it every time! Truth be told, it’s easy to abuse the phrase when we’re talking chicken, because I, like the rest of America, am always grateful for a simple new way to get my family’s favorite protein on the table fast. This one I picked up from Diana Henry’s awesome chicken bible, A Bird in the Hand (which I picked as one of the best spring cookbooks last May in The Book Review, if you want more details). You smear the simplest mustardy-herby-butter on chicken thighs, press in some breadcrumbs right before baking, and 35 minutes later — enough time to put together your sides — you have a proper family meal. Her recipe calls for tarragon, but I’ve done it with dill, chives, basil, or whatever herb I’ve paid $1.99 for and is about to turn to black liquid in the “crisper.” Bonus: Any leftover mustard butter can be frozen, which might just make this my new favorite make ahead meal.
Baked Chicken with Herbs and Dijon Mustard
From A Bird in the Hand, by Diana Henry
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
chopped leaves from 6 springs of tarragon (or dill or chives or basil)
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (I’ve also used boneless and it’s fine)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Mash the Dijon mustard with the tarragon and butter until combined. Put the chicken into a roasting pan (or a baking dish) and brush or spoon the mustard mixture onto the chicken. Season, then press on the bread crumbs.
Roast in the oven for 35 minutes. The top should be a lovely golden color. Serve immediately with the cooking juices that have gathered around the chicken, some boiled new potatoes and a green salad or green snap beans.
Recipe reprinted with the permission of Mitchell Beazley.
Another winner from the book: Chicken Piri Piri (before it went in the oven) a tangy roast chicken recipe from Portugal.