Quick Dinner With Cheap Chicken Thighs
Several grocery stores have been running specials lately on bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, but what do you do with them now that it's getting too chilly to toss them on the grill? The answer is simple, as is the recipe I'm providing today. You make Baked Mustard-Dill Chicken Thighs. The thighs are perfect if you work from home (or even if you don't). You pop them in a simple marinade early in the day or at least a couple of hours before you plan on baking the thighs. The marinade seasons the meat and helps make it tender and juicy. So does the chicken skin on the thighs, so don't remove it before you cook the chicken! I'm not a big fan of chicken skin, so I do remove the skin before I eat the chicken. That said, the skin is the best way to achieve tender baked chicken. The recipe includes potatoes, which hold up and act as a rack for the thighs, in the process becoming seasoned and creamy-soft. Half of the marinade is saved and becomes the base of a creamy-tangy sauce to pour over the baked thighs. This really is a wonderful comfort recipe, yet it also has a sophisticated side with the dill-flavored mustard sauce. So, if you happen upon some cheap chicken thighs, snap them up. You can turn them into a wonderful, inexpensive, easy meal.
Mustard-Dill Chicken Thighs -- Serves 4+
6 large bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
2-3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard (depending on how much you like mustard)
1/4 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of white wine (I use cheap Pino Grigio from Aldi)
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of dried dill, plus extra for sprinkling
and for the sauce
1 1/2-2 pounds of small potatoes (I use a medley--white, purple, red--or whatever is on
1 tablespoon of cornstarch, plus 2 tablespoons of water
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spritz it with non-stick cooking spray. Set the pan aside until later. Trim the chicken thighs of excess fat/skin and separate the skin part of the way from the meat--like you're creating a flap. Put the chicken thighs in a large plastic bag. In a small bowl or measure, combine the mustard, water, salt, wine, and tablespoon of chopped dill and whisk or blend everything well. Pour half of the mixture over the chicken thighs in the bag and move the thighs around in the bag to ensure they're coated with the marinade. Seal the bag, place it in a bowl or or tray, and refrigerate the chicken thighs for at least a couple of hours. Clean the potatoes, cut them in halves or quarters (if large), and place them on a micro-wave safe plate. Microwave the potatoes for about five minutes or until just barely cooked. Put the potatoes, cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the chicken thighs, skin side up, on top of the potatoes. Drizzle the marinade in the bag over the chicken and potatoes. Bake the chicken for 30-35 minutes or until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reaches 175 degrees. Sprinkle the baked chicken with a little fresh dill, if you like.
While the chicken is cooking, place the remaining marinade in a microwave-safe bowl or measure and microwave it for a minute or until very hot. In another bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a couple of tablespoons of water until smooth. Whisk it into the hot marinade. Microwave the mixture for another minute and whisk it again. Microwave the sauce another minute or so, if necessary, whisking every thirty seconds until it thickens. It will be a thin sauce, not a thick gravy. Whisk in a little more dill, if you like (1 teaspoon fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried). Serve the sauce alongside the chicken and potatoes.