Thursday, July 14, 2005

Oven-Fried Mustard Chicken

I figured out how to do this without a table, after all. The problem was that I'd copied and pasted from my recipe software and it's not very compatible with blogger. All it took was a bit of fiddling in WordPad before pasting it into the compose post window.

It wasn't my intent to write a long essay yesterday, but as I worked with my ideas, it kept growing. I guess I'd really been thinking about it a lot. Today I wanted a a lighter post. It's summertime. Who wants heavy philosophy every day when there's warm sunny weather to enjoy? Here's a very simple recipe to make on a cool Saturday morning. Pack it up and take it to the park or the beach for a summer picnic.

Oven-Fried Mustard Chicken

Serves 8

Ingredients:
2 whole chickens -- cut up or precut chicken pieces
1 teaspoon tarragon
2 teaspoons paprika, hot or sweet, depending on how spicy you want it
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups flour
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
peanut oil--as needed to coat pan

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly coat a baking dish with peanut oil.

2. Combine tarragon, paprika, salt, black pepper, and flour in a plastic bag. Brush mustard on chicken pieces and shake them one at a time in the flour mixture, largest pieces first. Place in a single layer, skin side down, on the baking sheet. If chicken is skinned, spray top with peanut oil.

3. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over. Bake 30 minutes longer or until crisp and golden brown.

Tips:
1. An easy way to deal with the oil is to get a pump spray bottle designed for cooking oil. Misto is the most generally available brand, but there are other good ones, too.

2. I'm a "pinch of this, pinch of that" cook, so the measurements are approximate. Use the amount of flour you need to coat the amount of chicken you have. Use the amount of mustard you need to coat the amount of chicken you have. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. I don't add salt to the flour in this recipe because the mustard has enough salt in it for my taste. You can add some, if you want it saltier.

3. You can substitute other herbs for the tarragon. Thyme, basil, oregano, and chervil all go well with Dijon mustard. If you're not sure if an herb you want to try will taste good, open the bottle of mustard and the herb and sniff both at the same time. If it smells good, it will taste good. Or mix a teeny bit of mustard and the herb you want to try. Spread it on a bite of plain bread or a plain cracker, something that won't add a lot of flavor of its own. Taste it. If it's good on the bread, it will be good on the chicken. You might have to experiment with proportions to find the blend that suits your taste, but that's part of the fun of being the cook. You get to decide when it tastes good.

Mangia!