Serious Eats: Recipes

Eat for Eight Bucks: Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs with Potato Wedges

[Photograph: Cara Eisenpress of Big Girls, Small Kitchen]

One of my favorite meals these days is a whole chicken roasted on top of potatoes. The chicken is flavorful with garlic, olive oil, and herbs. The potatoes are perhaps even better: they get seasoned with the chicken's juices, plus more olive oil and more herbs.

Easy as it may be, roasting a whole chicken isn't that cheap, and it takes a while. So I've been experimenting with roasting chicken thighs and legs, and trying to add flavor even during a shorter cooking time. In my experiments, I haven't eliminated the potatoes, since they're cheap and so filling.

My most successful variation throws a couple hours of marinating into the mix. The marinade includes cider vinegar, whole grain mustard, and maple syrup, which is a nice, mild change of pace from honey in a recipe like this; it both sweetens the chicken and helps it develop a beautiful crust. The prep is easy, but when you pull the pan out of the oven, no one would ever guess it.

Shopping List: 4 chicken thighs (about 1.15lb), $3.75; 1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes, $1.75; 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, $0.10 (prorated)
Pantry Items: Olive Oil, Vinegar, Maple Syrup, Salt, Pepper, White Wine
Total Cost (for 2 portions): $5.50

About the authors: Phoebe and Cara are the co-founders of Big Girls, Small Kitchen, a food and cooking website for twenty-something cooks looking for user-friendly, affordable ways to navigate their kitchens. They have a heated, decade-long rivalry about whose Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie is the best. Their book, In The Small Kitchen, will be published in the spring of 2011 by William Morrow. Visit their blog here.

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