Saturday, November 2, 2013

Roasted Chicken with Mustard-Thyme Sauce

You know what I love about recipes?  They don't expire.  The ingredients may go out of season, or you may not be in the mood for a certain cuisine, but you can just hang on, and that recipe will have its day.  Take this chicken, for example.  It was in an issue of Cooking Light last fall, and I knew it looked like something I'd enjoy.  A year later, I finally got around to it, and it was delicious!  So whether you make this today or five years from now, enjoy!

Roasted Chicken with Mustard-Thyme Sauce

1 tablespoon  olive oil       
8 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)                
1/2 teaspoon  salt, divided 
1/2 teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper, divided 
1 tablespoon  butter
1/2 cup  chopped onion 
2 teaspoons  chopped fresh thyme 
1 cup  no-salt-added chicken stock (such as Swanson), divided
4 teaspoons  flour
1 teaspoon  Dijon mustard

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan; place in an 11 x 7–inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Bake at 425° for 16 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Remove chicken from dish; reserve drippings.

3. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add butter; swirl to coat. Add onion and thyme; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Combine 3 tablespoons stock and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture, remaining stock, and reserved drippings to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, and add mustard, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring with a whisk. Serve sauce with chicken.

Whenever I'm doing a chicken recipe, I like to prep everything I can before touching the meat.  I'd say I rank among the safest cooks for kitchen sanitation, but I just find it easier to get anything possible done before the inevitable hand washing situation.  You know what I mean... when you're turning to the sink for a fresh wash every ten seconds.  Just imagine if you were also taking pictures!

Above, my herbs, spices, etc. are in Prep Bowls, Pinch Bowls, Measuring Spoons, and an Easy Read Mini Measuring Cup.  All of that's on my beloved Large Cutting Board with the 5" Santoku Knife that has clearly been used for onion prep.

When I need a good bit of onion, I turn to the Food Chopper or the Manual Food Processor.  When I just need a bit, I turn to my 5" Santoku Knife and my mad skills.  Ok, I'm being sarcastic.  I'm about the slowest person you'll ever see when it comes to knife work in the kitchen, but I've also avoided cutting myself.  There's a lot to be said for that when you're talking Pampered Chef sharpness.  Anyway, this is my favorite method for dicing an onion, and it's what you'll notice actual chefs doing if you pay attention to cooking shows.  This changed my life because it kept me from chasing onion pieces around my cutting board with a sharp knife.

The method:
Slice the onion in half longways. 
Cut off the end that's not fuzzy.
Slice strips, keeping the fuzzy end intact. (You'll notice it's what's holding things together.)
Cut the other way, and you're onion is diced.

The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but I had a pack of legs in the freezer, and I decided dark meat is dark meat.  When I peel the skin from legs, I work it from the fat end down, and then I snip it from the skinny ends with the Professional Shears.  Do this a day ahead, and the recipe comes together very quickly!

Ok, so the chicken is skinned and seasoned, and the sauce ingredients are prepped and resting on a Cutting Mat.  My oil is heating in the 12" Skillet, so things are about to get good.

Note: I have raw chicken on the Stoneware Bar Pan.  Never use your stoneware to let raw meat hang out unless it's going in the oven soon.  Since this recipe involves finishing the meat in the oven, it was safe.  Otherwise, I wouldn't do this.  Stoneware is porous, so that makes it a bad place for meat that's not going to be cooked in the oven.  That said, it's an ideal place for what is going in the oven.

Sizzle sizzle sizzle!!  The Chef's Tongs are one of those things you kind of wonder how you lived without once you begin using them.  They're ideal for tasks like this, and the silicone ends won't scratch your Executive Cookware.

This is when things really start to smell good.  I mean, onions and thyme!  Delicious!  I've got all of this coming together in my 12" Skillet, and I'm using the Mix 'n Scraper to stir.  I can leave it in the pan, and it won't melt.

Make sure the meat reaches 165 degrees, and you're ready to eat!  This is the Digital Thermometer, but it's no longer available.  We've replaced it with a different version, which is just as good... and doesn't require a battery.

Honestly, I think this is an awesome recipe.  It's straightforward, and all of the ingredients may very well be in your kitchen already.  This is the kind of food I enjoy making when I want to take someone a meal.  It's homemade, transports easily, and doesn't break the bank.  Roasted chicken with a delicious sauce, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a side of peas, and a simple dessert can absolutely make someone's day.  (All in disposable containers that don't have to be washed and returned, of course)

The top picture shows this served with lightly sautéed spinach and these delicious potatoes.

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