About three weeks ago I had some chicken quarters and lemons. I had just roasted a whole chicken with some lemons a few days prior.. For me, lemon and chicken is a beautiful marriage—it packs great flavor along with clean, alkalizing, zesty punch. You always feel light after eating lemon chicken and I wanted to utilize the lemons, so I turned to my fridge door where I looked for something that was nearly empty to clean out. I found some Dijon mustard and immediately thought of honey mustard. But not the icky sugar laden kind, so I opened my pantry and instead of honey found a giant container of agave. Don’t ask—it was on sale and I bought it to use for baking. I had some parsley and thyme from the roasted chicken so I grabbed that too.
Well, I got to mixing and tasting but then I looked down at my concoction and thought, “Shit, it’s bright green from all of the parsley but it’s too late to make a new sauce, so let’s go with it.”
I plated supper and spooned a tiny bit of sauce from the pan onto the chicken and after a quick prayer, I heard, “Al, this has got to be one of the best sauces/meals you’ve ever made.” I was shocked. It was pretty damn good I had to admit—and I was pumped that this fit the clean eating bill AND “flavor country palate.”
Needless to say, I’ve made this nearly three times since that first time (I don’t like to waste fresh spices), and it is amazing cold (always a great bonus for lunches). You won’t find any more half-empty Dijon mustard jars in my fridge…that one’s here to stay.
Recipe Report Card:
Amount of Pantry Staples Used: B-
Taste profile: A+
Final grade: A+
Boss Sauce Chicken (with quinoa and carrots*see note)
¼ c. + 1 tbl. Dijon mustard
3 tbl Agave (you could also use honey)
3 tbl chopped thyme (about 20 sprigs)
½ c. curly parsley + scant ¼ cup (divided)
1 tbl EVOO
1 clove garlic, minced
½ juiced lemon
4 chicken quarters (legs and thigh, bone-in)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper (and salt, if you want)
Dutch oven or another pan with lid
1 small saucepan with lid
baking tray (for carrots)
Quinoa* (see note)
½ cup of quinoa
1 cup of water
Carrots* (see note)
1 bunch of carrots
EVOO or butter
Preheat oven to 400.
In the small bowl, whisk Dijon, agave, thyme, ½ cup of parsley, EVOO, garlic and lemon. Set aside.
Place carrots in oven.
Heat 1 tbl of EVOO in pan over med-high heat. Pepper (and salt) the chicken legs. Cook legs, skin side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken to other side and add the 2 cloves of garlic to the pan and cook 5 more minutes.
Flip legs back over so the meatiest part of the leg is facing up. Spoon ONE tablespoon of sauce over each of the legs. Cover pot and put into preheated oven for 10 minutes.
Shake carrots on tray…remove if cooked too long.
Put quinoa and water into saucepan. Bring to low boil then turn to low.
Check chicken after 10 minutes, removing the lid. Flip over and add the remaining sauce, covering all legs. Cook another 10-15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Plate with quinoa and carrots! Enjoy
Make ahead options:
I am sure the sauce can be made a day in advance, but I have not tried.
1. To avoid tearing skin on the legs, do not lift until the full 5 minutes is up! You want the skin to be nice and crispy.
2. Like I said before, this combo is really good cold. And it also reheats well. To reheat, preheat oven to 350. Place chicken on metal pan and heat.
3. Since you don’t use a whole package of thyme and parsley, it’s sometimes most cost-effective to cook this meal two weeks in a row!
*4. Obviously, you don’t have to cook the quinoa and carrots, but this is a quick easy way to have a full meal done in less than an hour.