My recipe for CHICKEN WITH MUSTARD AND RED PEPPER is a riff on a recipe by Patricia Wells.  Her book, THE PARIS COOKBOOK.  To read or cook from it  is pure delight.   I use French Dijon and coarse-grain French Dijon, a whisper of cayenne pepper, a dusting of red pepper flakes .  It goes together quickly.  Almost before you finish singing La Marseillaise you  top it with a little butter and pop it in the oven and bake it (despite the name).     This simple dish suggests a sauvignon blanc or a  young Côtes-du-Rhône.  Pour yourself a glass of wine  and voila!   That’s it.

Here’s the very, very best part of this recipe.  I think it tastes better the next day.    You can double or even triple the recipe for a crowd.  Don’t be concerned about the amount of red pepper flakes and cayenne called for in the recipe.  For some wonderful and unexplained reason they become just a hint of spice.   This is the chicken recipe to serve again and again and call it your own.  Tweak the spices.  Add a little more of this.   A little less of that.  To go with the chicken I roast chunks of  Yukon Gold potatoes tossed in a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  This chicken recipe is known in our home as PICNIC CHICKEN because it is so delicious eaten cold the next day.  The flavours absolutely sing.

: Chicken
Cuisine: French
: 4
In French cooking, any meat or poultry seasoned with mustard and hot pepper then coated with bread-crumbs is called a la diable. This version of a classic Bistro dish is easily prepared and delicious served hot or cold.
  • 2 tablespoons French Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon coarse-grain French Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large egg
  • 8 chicken thighs (bone-in with skin) or 4 chicken legs, thighs attached
  • 1 generous cup fine homemade breadcrumbs (do not use Panko)
  • ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into 8 cubes)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Line a shallow baking pan or roasting pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl combine the two mustards and the peppers and stir to blend.
  4. Place the egg into a medium sized shallow bowl and whisk lightly with a fork to blend.
  5. In a large bowl combine the homemade breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix to combine.
  6. (Have your sink filled with hot, soapy water with a bit of bleach (Oxygen Bleach preferably). You are handling raw chicken and it is important not to cross containment anything in your work space. Wash your utensils and dishes in the "bleach water" before loading them in the dishwasher. )
  7. Have a large platter at hand and using a pastry brush, brush the mustard mixture all over the chicken pieces and place in one layer on the platter.
  8. Dip them in the eggs coating evenly on all sides.(discard any left over eggs)
  9. Sprinkle with the bread-crumbs coating as evenly as possible. (discard any left over crumbs)
  10. Place the chicken pieces in the pan about 2 inches apart.
  11. Dot the chicken pieces with the butter cubes.
  12. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, basting frequently. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  13. Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer the pieces to a wire rack to help firm up the coating, about 5 minutes.
  14. Serve hot or cold.


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