It’s a little crazy how long it took me to come upon this rather basic chicken dinner given my 13-year-old practically short-circuits with glee anytime she sees honey-mustard on a menu. A green salad tossed with honey-mustard dressing? Heaven. A fleet of deep-fried chicken fingers served with honey-mustard dip? Jackpot. Now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure her favorite swimming pool in the county is not the heated one with the slide and diving board, but the one with the snack bar that dispenses honey-mustard in a giant pump right next to the Heinz. (All the better to drench her French fries with. Not lying.) So I knew what I had to do when I came across the honey-mustard chicken wings in Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry Family….Dog-ear the recipe for later, because I didn’t have wings. I did, however, have package of frozen chicken thighs thawing on the counter, a jar of honey, a jar of Dijon, a bunch of end-of-the-week vegetable scraps, and about an hour to turn it all into dinner. Which I did, and will do again very soon if my daughter has anything to do with it.
I was feeling ambitious and served the chicken with skillet cornbread and a carrot-beet-scallion slaw tossed in a yogurty herb dressing, but there should be nothing stopping you from just throwing it on a plate with rice and raw carrots if that’s the kind of day we’re looking at. This recipe was inspired by the inspiring inspiration-filled Mad Hungry Family. (P.S. If it had a cousin, it’d be this one.)
6 chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 lemon, halved, seeds removed as much as possible
1/4 cup Dijon
1/4 cup honey
fresh thyme (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, mix together mustard and honey. Place the chicken into a roasting pan or baking dish and brush or spoon olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle lemon halves in between chicken as shown. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, then brush honey-mustard mixture on top. Roast another 15 minutes until chicken is golden and cooked through. Squeeze lemon juice all over and serve with fresh thyme if desired.