Orange Dijon Chicken
Lil-O, my picky younger son, recently anointed me with a lofty title: “The Queen of Being Good at Chicken.” When I asked him why he felt I deserved such an honorific, he shrugged and told me that he loves my chicken dishes (like Cracklin’ Chicken, Damn Fine Chicken, and Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken). Of course, he was quick to add a caveat: “No offense, mom, but Po-Po’s cooking is still a little better.” No offense taken—I’m fine with taking second place to my mom.
I’m not sure I’m the queen of anything, but we certainly do love roasted chicken here at Nom Nom Paleo World Headquarters as evidenced by all the poultry dishes in my Recipe Index. To keep my boys happy, I’m always trying to come up with flavor-packed chicken recipes that deliver the most bang for the buck. After a recent meal at a local French bistro, I was reminded that Dijon-style mustard makes for a fantastic marinade base for chicken. But can a restaurant-quality mustard-marinaded chicken be made simply, and at home? How minimalist could I make the recipe?
After some experimentation, I came up with this 5-ingredient (not including salt) marinade, and it’s pretty much the bee’s knees. And after trying a bite, Lil-O confirmed that my new chicken-cooking royalty status remains safe. “For now,” he added ominously.
- ¾ cup Dijon-style mustard
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
- Minced Italian parsley and/or chives (optional)
- Large bowl
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Silicone spatula
- Silicone bowl cover (I love these!)
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Stainless steel wire rack
Combine the mustard, orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a large bowl.
Remember: the amount of salt is subjective. Adjust the amount to taste!
Add the chicken drumsticks, and mix well to coat. (Yes, boneless and skinless chicken will also work, but make sure to decrease the amount of cooking time.)
Personally, I recommend marinading the chicken in the morning, and cooking up the chicken in the evening—but the recipe works even if you have little or no time to marinate the bird legs.
If you’re gonna marinate it ahead of time, cover the bowl with a silicone lid (my fave!) or plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge for up to a day. (Don’t leave the chicken in the marinade for more than a day, or the texture of the meat will turn a little mushy.)
When you’re ready to roast the chicken, heat the oven to 425°F (or 400°F on convection mode) with the rack in the middle position. Definitely use the convection option if you’ve got it! The circulating hot air ensures even cooking and crispy skin.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a stainless steel wire rack on top. Gently shake off the excess marinade and lay the chicken drumsticks in a single layer on the wire rack.
Roast in the oven for 20 minutes, and then flip the drumsticks over and rotate the tray 180 degrees.
Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the skin is browned and the meat is cooked through (registering 170°F on an instant-read thermometer).
Feeling fancy? Roughly chop a handful of Italian parsley and/or chives, and sprinkle the herbs on top!
Don’t forget that you can always get a printer-friendly, photo-free version of this recipe by clicking on the cartoon of the Double-Os at the bottom of this post. Now, get cooking!
Looking for more recipes? Head on over to my Recipe Index! You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my Webby Award-Winning iPhone® and iPad® app, and in my New York Times-bestselling cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel 2013).