“You’re in it now,” my husband says.

The part-time gig has somehow turned full-time, giving me greater sympathy for working mothers everywhere. I’m scurrying each day to clients, to preschool, to carpool, to college visits. Armand’s Chicago Pizzeria is on speed-dial.

I’m a little embarrassed. I’ve spent the past eight or nine years singing the praises of sitting down to dinner together. “Don’t let cooking be a chore,” I’ve cajoled (on this site). “Enjoy it.”

I’m sorry.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have taken this job,” I tell my husband, waking at 3 a.m. to worry about the next day’s lesson plans and an upcoming party I’m catering.

He’ll have none of it.

“You’re in it now.”

Yes.

So we’re compromising. “Pizza Thursdays,” when Armand’s has a two-for-one special, has become routine. The rest of the week, I search for shortcuts.

Like this:

chicken baked

Crumb-coated chicken seasoned with a heady mix of Dijon mustard, herbs and vermouth.

The original recipe calls for marinating the bird at least 4 hours and preferably overnight. But I don’t have that kind of time. So I put it in its aromatic bath for a little under an hour, letting it sit at room temperature while it soaks.

And it’s fine. Better than fine, actually. The chicken roasts up tender, golden … and fast. Which means I still have time to do a little laundry, schedule a few last college visits with my 18-year-old and plan the next day’s menus and lessons.

I’d be lying if I said it was easy.

But it’s life.

Get Dinner On The Table Chicken

This dish comes by way of Suzanne Goin’s recipe for deviled chicken thighs in “Sunday Suppers At Lucque.” A few shortcuts and edits make the dish doable during a weeknight.

  • 1 large chicken, cut up
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme, divided
  • 2 chiles de Arbol, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves, crushed
  • 3/4 cup vermouth, divided
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Place the onions, 1 teaspoon of thyme, chiles, bay leaves and 1/4 cup vermouth in a large bowl. Season well with salt and pepper, then add the chicken and toss it to coat. Let it sit while you prepare the other elements of the dish:

chicken raw

Put the panko breadcrumbs in a medium bowl.

Place 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan. Melt it over medium heat, then it pour over the panko. Stir in another teaspoon of thyme. Set aside.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to your pan. Add the shallots and the remaining teaspoon of thyme. Saute for a couple of minutes, then add the last 1/2 cup vermouth. Boil until the sauce is reduced by about half, then pour it into a large bowl. Cool it slightly, then stir in the mustard and egg. Season with salt and pepper.

Take your chicken out of its marinade and pat dry. Season it with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in your saute pan. Place the chicken in the pan and brown it for 8 to 10 minutes. Flip it over and cook for another minute.

Transfer the chicken pieces to the bowl with the mustard mixture. Toss well to coat:

chicken in mustard

Grease a casserole dish. Place the chicken pieces in the dish in a single layer. Pat the breadcrumbs atop them:

chicken with crumbs

Bake for 40 minutes, covering the pan if the breadcrumbs start to get too brown. After the baking time has passed, cut into one of the chicken pieces to make sure it’s done. If not, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve immediately … you have a lot of other things to do!

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