Really Freakin’ Good Maple Mustard Chicken

Maple Mustard Chicken

I’m always on the lookout for easy, tasty, healthy dishes (really, who isn’t?), so when I saw this recipe linked to at Healthy Nest, I had to try it. With just four ingredients, plus salt and pepper, there’s no reason not to cook up this nearly effortless, completely fabulous dinner.

The name, though. You see, I cook for myself. It makes no difference to me whether a man is or not pleased with my culinary skills and while I do enjoy sharing these skills with men when they are around, I just as much enjoy sharing them with women and, to be perfectly honest, myself. After all, if I’m not worth cooking for, then who is? So the name “Man Pleasing Chicken” had to go. It’s cute, you want to impress your boyfriend or your husband, I get it, but it’s just not me. I bring you instead: Really Freakin’ Good Maple Mustard Chicken.

I followed this recipe to the letter here, because there seemed little reason to deviate from the four ingredients at the get-go. What you end up with is a slightly sweet, slightly acidic, completely moist piece of chicken that will make you wonder why you ever cooked chicken any other way. I roasted some broccoli, cooked some brown rice, and had me a nice dinner while watching Jason Statham in Redemption. (What? I’m over 30 and it’s cold. I can totally spend Saturday in by myself with a tasty dinner and Mr. Statham on the screen. That movie was pretty good, by the way.)

I am, however, eager to try some variations. The original recipe suggests throwing some fresh rosemary on top, which I bet would be good. I also think a sprinkling of chile flakes or chipotle powder would spice things up nicely. Tarragon would add a floral note. Ooh, if you switched out the maple for honey and threw in some lemon zest? I bet that would be a winner.

This is what I love about cooking for myself. I get to try something new and there’s no pressure for it to be the best meal ever. And when a person – be they a female friend or a male more-than-friend – comes along who I do want to please? Well, I’ve got the perfect recipe ready to go.

½ cup dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
4-6 chicken thighs (I used skin-on, bone-in, but use what you like)

Mix the mustard, syrup, and vinegar in a bowl. If you want, line a pan with foil to aid in cleanup. Personally, I like to scoop up the browned bits that collect in the bottom of the pan when you roast chicken and it’s impossible to do this with foil. I dredged the thighs through the mixture and then poured the remaining mixture over the chicken to ensure a thorough coating. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake at 450° for 40 minutes, basting with the sauce about halfway through. Cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 165° or the juices run clear when the meat is cut with a knife. Spoon some of the remaining sauce over the chicken to serve and boom, you’re done.

Serve this to a man and, yes, you’ve probably pleased him, but more importantly, you’ve probably pleased yourself.

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