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 (or panko 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.
Click here for an updated version of this recipe using panko and carrots.
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.