I’ve been hoping, with it being summer and all, that work will slow down to allow me to catch my breath and all. I feel like I’ve been going, going, going. I could really use a vacation – somewhere, anywhere, I just don’t have time to plan it. This crazy schedule of mine makes dinner on weeknights feel like an afterthought. My morning routine is less than inspiring: I wake up early, eat breakfast and drink my coffee on the way to work. On days when I’m feeling diligent, I will blow dry my hair, but on most days I let it be what it wants to be in humid weather – a frizzy mess. Days at work feel like the spin cycle during a wash as I dart in an out of meetings and conference calls.
And then before I know it evening arrives, and as I gather up my things to head on home, I realize – I don’t know what to do for dinner. (I’m sure this never happens to any of you!) And maybe I’m starting to show my age, but I’m sort of over take-out. Invariably, I’d almost rather always cook than pick up my phone. Except, weeknight cooking requires planning – and planning is a little tricky when you’re running around during the week. You kind of just want to come home, pull a few ingredients together and eat within a reasonable time frame. And then, after you clean up the dishes, you want to stretch out in front of the television to watch Rachel Maddow. Ooops, sorry, I’m projecting.
Well, no matter your schedule or busy-ness level, you can add another solid recipe to your weeknight (and weekend!) repertoire, all thanks to Luisa. Because of her (and Regina Schrambling), I had one of the loveliest, calmest, glorious evenings in awhile as I pulled my ingredients together, mixed, slathered, sprinkled, and drizzled. Then in the oven the whole mess went, and I? I settled on the couch with a chilled glass of Riesling and a magazine. How lovely does that sound? Doesn’t an evening like sound better than ordering take-out? The anticipation of a meal, that pre-dinner glass of wine, the warm smell wafting through your house – a preview of what’s to come. Sure, you can sit down with a glass of wine in anticipation of take-out, but somehow it doesn’t sound nearly as exciting. When you hear the chicken quietly sputter in your oven, the anticipation of a meal to come becomes palpable.
The whole business couldn’t be simpler. Just wash and pat dry your chicken, spread the mustard mixture over in a generous, thick coat, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and drizzle with melted butter. Then you bake your chicken until it’s done, and then you eat it. Besides the herbs, which you can pick up on your way home, the ingredients are pretty straight-forward, and most likely already reside in your pantry.
If you are wondering how the baked mustard on chicken combination works, let me put your worries aside. The heat works wonders on the mustard, which coats the chicken and thickens and dries at it cooks. Mustard on chicken – genius. The recipe – a keeper. Lack of planning – rectified. Now, this thing about planning a vacation – is there a shortcut for that? I could really use one.
Adapted from The Wednesday Chef
4 chicken legs (thighs included, about 2 1/2 pounds) or 8 drumsticks
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme and sage
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup panko or whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
6 cups mesclun or other greens
1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Rinse the chicken legs and pat them dry. In a separate bowl, mix together the herbs and the mustard. Season the legs well with salt and pepper. Spread the mustard mixture over the skin side of each leg to coat thinly. Lay the legs in a shallow baking dish, leaving space between them. Sprinkle evenly with the panko or breadcrumbs and drizzle evenly with the melted butter.
3. Roast 1- 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is very tender and the coating is crisp. Serve on a bed of mesclun (no dressing is needed as the chicken juices and mustard will coat the salad).
Ohhhh that sounds so relaxing and wonderful. I read about this chicken on Luisa’s blog, but this makes me want to sit on the couch with wine while chicken quietly splutters. Lovely.
I made this last week, per Luisa. I don’t even like mustard that much, and this was delish
The Rowdy Chowgirl
Oh, I love mustardy chicken. This sounds divine. I must say that anything that takes 1.5-2 hours in the oven is a Sunday recipe for me, not a weeknight recipe. But I’ll happily eat the leftovers all week!
I can’t say that I’ve cooked chicken with mustard on it before, but I can see the pairing working due to a lot of chicken sandwiches made from leftover roast chicken.
If you don’t have time to plan a vacation, why not plan a daycation. Choose a location of interest that’s reachable but not too close, and set it as a get there at some point destination, allowing yourself to stop and explore on your way. A museum (if museums are your thing), an event, or a gorgeous park can be your destination; and if you find a you-pick berry farm or an ice creamery along the way, have some fun at the random stops. Overy planned vacations are overrated I think. The whole point is being relaxed, so why not approach it relaxed-ly? Right?
Dana – a good idea for sure, daycation, that is — but i need a full week off – I’m 7 months into a year w/o time off. I’m feeling quite drained. Ugh. Maybe I’ll just sit on my couch for a week and read. And cook. That sounds good.
Katie @ Cozydelicious
Yum! I can always use another weeknight chicken recipe. This looks excellent and flavorful. I pretty much adore anything with mustard!
Charles just put a request in for this 15 min. ago and now it’s in the oven.
I often use mayo mixed with some prepared horseradish in a similar dish.
Grace – I love that 15 minutes ago is when the request was made and now it’s in the oven. Lovely!
Heather @ The Single Dish
This is a great weeknight meal, thanks for the idea! I love mustard on anything :)
Can’t wait to make this tonight. I also saw Luisa’s post but totally forgot about it. It’s going to be the perfect solution for dinner. Thanks!
berlin catering fingerfood
That looks fabulous. I tried honey mustard chicken last week but yours looks much more appealing. So I will check out your recipe for sure. By the way… Your blog is fantastic. So many nice things I have to try. Go on like this!
I just made a mustard chicken recipe two nights ago. I added a little bit of balsamic vinegar to my mustard mixture. It gave the chicken a bit of sweetness.
Just learned of your blog and it’s lovely. Not usually a commenter, but can’t resist: mustard chicken was a classic in my family growing up, and there are two alternate steps that I find make it much easier for weeknights: in the morning, put the chicken in a bowl, slather with mustard, and leave in the fridge all day. Then the mustard perfumes the meat even more, and you’re that much closer to done when you walk in the door. Also, I like to roast pieces at a higher heat for a shorter time – like 375 for 35 mins. I tend to put them on a little rack inside the roasting pan, and pour about 1/2c of white wine or vermouth in the bottom – keeps the meat moist and comes out with a nice sauce.
Anna – first of all, thank you! And secondly – fantastic tips!! Thank you for sharing with us all. I will definitely try it your way next time. Can’t wait!!
just made this for dinner – my husband was SO happy! i live in France – substituted herbs de provence instead of sage and crushed up dry crackers for bread crumbs…so tasty…mmmm – thank you !!!