Saturday, November 24, 2012

Quick Roast Chicken with Mustard & Garlic

My husband said to me after he took his first bite; I think this is my new favorite roast chicken!  I have to admit that it’s mine too.

I love simple recipes that get their flavor from their cooking method (roasting) and a few basic ingredients that can come together as an amazing meal in no time at all.  This recipe met all the requirements.

This is one of those “I LOOKED then COOKED” recipes that I found while surfing the internet.  It was one of Jacques Pepin’s, so how could it be anything less than awesome.  I quickly read through the ingredients list and was happy to discover that I had everything I needed to put this together.

Usually I can’t leave well enough alone and almost always feel the need to tweak recipes, but not with this recipe.  This mustard marinade has the perfect balance of flavor – I wouldn't change a thing (at least for the marinade).

What caught my attention with this recipe was how the chicken was prepped and cooked.  Instructing me to - cut partially through the joints on both sides between the thigh and drumstick as well as between the breast and wing allowing the chicken to cook quickly and evenly, leaving the chicken intact for a nicer presentation.  I also liked the idea of placing the chicken in a cold pan to smear the marinade, then placing the skillet over high heat before popping it into the oven.  I knew that those simple steps would shorten the cooking time, so I had to try it.
Side Note… I only cooked half a chicken when I made this dish.
I am notorious for buying big chickens, which explains the 5 ½ pounder that I had in the fridge which is pretty ridiculous considering my family has dramatically shrunken down to two.  When I look at a 3 pounder (which is what I should be buying) it seems so small…  So I continue to buy fat chickens that I cut in half so that I can cook them differently – allowing me to have more variety instead of a ton of leftovers of the same thing.  I also think that the larger chickens are meatier.

When I made the half chicken, I did as instructed and put the marinade on the chicken just before cooking (without marinating).
Whereas, when I made the breasts - I marinated the chicken overnight.  Both cooking styles were delicious in their own way.
When I cooked the breast, these were very large pieces and took 35 min. to cook.  I marinated them in a zip lock bag overnight in the fridge.  Then place them on a foil lined sheet pan and cooked them in a hot 450 degree preheated oven.  This was the easiest and tidiest way to cook the chicken (just roll up the foil and toss it).  The breast meat was moist and picked up the marinade, but the flavor was not as pronounced as with the skillet method.
The skillet method was surprisingly tastier; I think it was due to the cooking method of heating the pan on the stove, then into a hot oven keeping the heat constant, allowing the marinade to caramelize.  The other difference was the variety of white and dark meat – giving you a whole roasted chicken experience.
The problem with the skillet method is that not everyone has an oven proof skillet that is large enough to cook it this way or is comfortable to spatchcock a whole bird.  If that is your situation and you plan to cook with parts - use my cooking chart below.  Remember that cooking times vary with ovens and size. 
This is my general rule for oven roasting chicken breast.  If you choose to cook both white and dark meat – cook the dark meat for 10 min. then add the breast for the time listed.

Large - 20 min.
Med - 15 min.
Small - 10 min
Large - 35 min.
Med - 25 min.
Small - 20 min.

Quick Roast Chicken with Mustard and Garlic (adapted from Jacques Pepin)
·         One 4-pound chicken
·         4 large garlic cloves, minced
·         2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
·         2 tablespoons dry white wine
·         2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
·         1 tablespoon soy sauce
·         1 teaspoon Tabasco
·         1 teaspoon herbs de Provence
·         1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Using poultry shears, cut along each side of the chicken backbone and remove it.

See video on how to spatchcock a chicken

Turn the chicken breast side up and press on the breast bone to flatten the chicken.  Using a sharp knife, cut partway through both sides of the joint between the thighs and the drumsticks.  Cut partway through the joint between the wings and breast also.

In a bowl, mix all of the remaining ingredients.  Turn the chicken breast side down and spread it with half the mustard mixture.  Set the chicken in a large skillet skin side up; spread with the remaining mixture.

Set the skillet over high heat and cook the chicken until it starts to brown, 5 min.  Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast chicken for 30 - 35 minutes or until the skin is browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Let the chicken rest for 5 min. before serving.


  1. This just got PINNED! It looks awesome Susan!

  2. This will certainly be my go-to roast chicken from now on. Every ingredient is always on hand and takes only seconds to prepare and pre-cutting the joints was brilliant in that it cooked evenly and I didn’t have to struggle with cutting a hot and greasy bird.

    I was going to do only half but the 5lb-er fit perfectly into my frying pan so I roasted the whole bird. I added five minutes to your 35 minute instructions but it was probably unnecessary. It held together when I slid it out of the pan, but just barely, which made portioning and plating it very simple.