Welcome to Part 2 in my ongoing (and probably eternal) reality series of “Any Chance This Guy Will Ever Learn to Cook?” If you were with us for Part 1’s Manly Cast Iron Curry Chicken, you learned I’m passionate about Growing, Harvesting, and Preserving healthy food for our family. I just have almost no interest, and also really suck at, Preparing it. Let’s see if anything can change that. Do you know a dude who’s scared of the kitchen? See if he wants to play along.
Last Sunday I took a whole broiler chicken, cut it up… and made this:
Baked Dijon Mustard Chicken with
Manly Cast Iron Potato and Onions.
And it was quite tasty! Even the two-year-old devoured everything on his plate. OK, not the salad. He didn’t eat the salad.
I slightly altered what I did from a recipe straight out of Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
I’m pretty sure this is the first cook book I ever bought for myself. Hopefully soon I can do a full review to properly convey my man-crush on these bound pieces of paper… but for now I’ll just say that this is right up my alley and I truly enjoyed reading it – not just referencing it. Never thought I’d say that about a cook book. Nourishing Traditions is chock full of great historical, anthropological, and medicinal facts, anecdotes, and tips that explain why much of our modern food industry is so ass-backwards when compared to the whole food and healthy preparation techniques that most of our great-grandparents seemed to innately understand.
The book’s tagline pretty much says it all:
“The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition
and the Diet Dictocrats.”
Plus, what is really helpful to a sucky fledgling chef like myself, each section (Beef, Poultry, Fish, Side Dishes, etc) has at least a few simple recipes that are not intimidating. This is one such recipe.
Yes, color me smitten.
So let’s bake some chicken and fry up some fixin’s.
Stuff You’ll Need:
- 1 Whole Chicken (we buy natural, pasture-raised broilers locally from Full of Graze Farm)
- Double handful of Red Potatoes
- 2 Onions
- 1 tbsp of Mustard (I went way fancy with Dijon)
- Spices (I grabbed a southern dry rub mixture for the chicken plus garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper for the potatoes.
Stuff You’ll Do
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Yes ladies, we husbands need a written step at the beginning to remember to do that while dealing with this other stuff so we’re not standing around for 15 minutes later twiddling our thumbs.)
- Cut up the Chicken. Separate both legs and both wings from the carcass. Remove both breasts. Set aside (but save!) carcass and any bones from this step. You’ll see why at the end.
- Melt your Butter and then stir in Mustard until it’s uniform.
- Use a brush or something to liberally apply the Mustard baste (is that the right word?) to Chicken.
- Sprinkle on your Spices.
- Cook Chicken in oven for 2 hours at 350 degrees.
- Slice Onions and get them sauteing (is that the right word?) with some butter.
- Quarter or cut Potatoes and boil them for ten minutes.
- After the 10 minute Potato boil, heat them in a skillet with some butter to brown.
- When both the Potatoes and Onions have browned, only then combine them. (This is one of the tips in Nourishing Traditions that told me it improves the final flavor. Who knew!?! They did.)
- Add your Potato Spices.
- Let’s check on that Chicken.
OK, so this is where I learned we apparently have a Convection Oven (as opposed to a Concave Oven?!? Just kidding… Kinda.) and apparently things bake much faster in one of those. Luckily I checked these twenty minutes early. A little brown on top but not burned! I’m thinking this would have been a very bad scene if I waited the full two hours as the recipe dictated. Lesson learned.
- Festively plate (?) and present to a hungry toddler and 8-month pregnant wife who was ecstatic she finally didn’t have to cook a meal.
But wait. There’s more!
Remember the chicken carcass you set aside? Let’s put that to some use.
Make Your Own Chicken Stock
- Cut off the neck and cut it into a few pieces.
- Place the neck, carcass, and feet into a large stock pot.
- Cover with 4 quarts of water.
- Add in tons of leftover vegetables. Especially veggie trimmings or anything that has gone slightly past its prime you’ve been saving all week for this very feat.
- 2 Tbsp vinegar
- Simmer somewhere between 4 and Infinity hours. 8-16 hours seems like a real happy middle man.
- Strain Stock
- Can or freeze Stock and throw it in the pantry.
This was a big hit and everyone enjoyed it. I think next time I’ll add just a little more pizzazz in the way of Spices to the chicken, but the Mustard taste was surprisingly really good. This was a fairly simple recipe for me to cut my teeth on.
Most importantly, my family lived through another Husband meal.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a cook book to make out with.