Anyone who knows my Dad well enough or has eaten out for breakfast with him can attest to one of his greatest restaurant pet peeves: serving any kind of syrup other than real Grade A Maple. Aunt Jemima is not a name ever uttered in our house or in his presence. Growing up spending time in Vermont with his Grandmother instilled in him the appreciation of true Vermont maple syrup that he has passed on to the rest of the family. In honor of this duly irksome and amusing syrup standard of his, I baked up a pan of Maple-Dijon Chicken based on a great recipe from the blog Table for Two.
The sauce consisted of 1/2 cup of Dijon mustard,1/4 cup of real maple syrup, 2 T of rice wine vinegar, and a 1/4 tsp each of salt and black pepper. I poured this over just about 2 lbs of chicken thighs in a double foil-lined 8X8 pan, making sure to turn the chicken over and coat all sides.
This then went into a 450 degree oven for 40 minutes until golden in color. Even though there was a lot of sauce for the amount of meat, this excess liquid was perfect for making a sauce to top my chicken. After letting the chicken rest for 5 minutes and removing it from the pan, I whisked in 2T cornstarch to the remaining sauce while the liquid was still hot. The cornstarch helped to thicken up the Maple-Dijon sauce, which then topped the chicken after plating. I simply can’t wait until I get my phone upgrade in the Spring, since the lighting in my apartment is pretty terrible for taking pictures and my doesn’t quite have the desired quality for blogging. My point is that this picture really doesn’t do the dish justice. I served the chicken alongside some wild rice with spinach and tomatoes, and steamed broccoli (with butter and parmesan for Brian).
This dish would have made even my dad (not a huge chicken fan) proud. The dark meat on the chicken thighs was perfectly moist and tender, and the sauce had a great bite from the tangy mustard and rice vinegar without being overly sweet from the syrup. After tasting the sauce, I ended up pouring some over my broccoli, I couldn’t get enough! Nevertheless, it could have been made even better by adding some garlic and white wine to the sauce. I think they would give the flavors a little bit more depth, but that may just have to be an entirely different meal….we’ll see. The best part of this dish? The super easy cleanup- all I had to do was clean one bowl and take the tinfoil off of my baking pan!