Laurie Colwin’s Baked Mustard Chicken

This old-school chicken, Sunday-night-supper chicken, even dinner party chicken, is baked for about two hours (yes, two hours) until its bread crumb-coated skin is crisp — yet the meat miraculously maintains its moisture. The recipe, adapted from the great food writer Laurie Colwin, is so simple to make that her original version was written out in a brief paragraph, casually instructing the home cook to coat the chicken with mustard, garlic, a little thyme, a pinch of cinnamon. We have adapted the recipe to include measurements and more specific direction, but that shouldn’t stop you from absorbing her nonchalance and confidence as you make it, the certainty that it will turn out delicious every time.

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  • 3/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 cups fine dry unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 chickens, 2 to 3 pounds each, quartered, rinsed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, or as needed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine mustard, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Place bread crumbs in another large bowl.
Working in batches, coat chicken quarters on all sides with mustard mixture. Shake off excess mustard, then coat completely with bread crumbs. Arrange in a single layer in a large, shallow baking pan.
Dust the chicken with paprika and scatter butter pieces on top. Bake until crust is deep golden brown and crispy, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Serve hot or at room temperature.
4 to 6 servings


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