This is my new favorite way to fix chicken, partly because of the amazing flavor and partly because it is easy to fix. The chicken is very simple, just salted and browned on the skin side in a pan, then roasted in the oven while you work on the pan sauce. The sauce is started with shallots and thyme sauteed in some of the leftover drippings, then apple cider vinegar deglazes the pan, followed by maple syrup and crushed black peppercorns adding a little sweet and a little heat. The whole thing is reduced by half then poured over the crispy roasted chicken. The smells in the kitchen while this dish is in progress are so good! Serve it with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and some greens, and you've got an easy and delicious meal.
The recipe comes from Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont, a new cookbook that I reviewed last month and fell in love with. I make the recipe as is, except we cook just two or three chicken breasts and use the whole sauce recipe. If we used more breast pieces or cooked a whole chicken, we would have to double the sauce because we love it poured over mashed potatoes and on the side for dipping the chicken.
This dish is my contribution to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging event, hosted by Vanessa from What Geeks Eat. Be sure to check out her blog on Monday November 19 to see what everyone created this week!
[Updated January 21, 2010.]
Maple and Black Pepper Chicken
- large skillet, not nonstick
- 9x13-inch baking pan, lined with foil
- 3 pounds whole chicken (cut into pieces, skin and bones intact (or 3 or 4 chicken breasts, with skin and bones))
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1½ teaspoons whole black peppercorns (slightly crushed)
- Preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
- Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle the skin side with the kosher salt. Heat the olive oil in the skillet until the oil shimmers. Place the chicken breasts in the pan, skin side down, and cook until crispy and lightly golden, about 7 to 9 minutes. Remove from the pan and put in the prepared baking pan.
- Add the thighs and legs to the pan, skin side down, and cook until crispy and lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Add to the baking pan. Reserve the skillet and 2 tablespoons of the drippings for the sauce.
- Roast the chicken pieces uncovered for about 30 to 35 minutes, until the meat closes to the bone is opaque. Temperature should be about 165° F/75° C for the breasts and 175° F/80° C for the thighs and legs.
- SAUCE: Make the sauce while the chicken roasts. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shallots, thyme, and kosher salt, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the shallots start to show some color.
- Add the cider vinegar to deglaze the pan, and simmer for about 2 minutes, scraping up the fond (the brown bits) from the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in the maple syrup and the crushed peppercorns and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. The sauce should reduce by about half. Season to taste.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken pieces and serve immediately.
this looks fantastic, the pictures making me want to just grab it and eat
T.W. Barritt says
There's that maple syrup again - it is a very versatile flavor and sweetener. I'm really intriqued by the sweet contrast to the "hot" black peppercorns.
Maple syrup is so expensive here, I have a maple extract that I got some time ago from a friend and I make my own syrup, I think this will work to make this yummy chicken!
Deborah Dowd says
This sounds like an intriguing flavor combination. So glad I found your blog. I am a fellow Virginia food blogger and was just in DC this past week for four days for training, and I had a great time there! You are so lucky to be surrounded by so many great food options!
What an unusual combination of flavours. I can't wait to give it a try.
This sounds like a wonderful dish. Love the idea of sweet maple syrup and spicy pepper. Yummy.
TW, my maple syrup jug is getting a real workout this season! And I dearly love the maple and pepper combination in the sauce.
Cris, let me know how it turns out with the maple extract.
Deborah, I wish that I lived close enough to DC to enjoy the great variety of restaurants on a regular basis! It was a lot of fun when I worked in the city...
Jerry, I hope you like it!
Kalyn, that maple pepper combination is what grabbed my attention when I first saw the recipe. 🙂
Would this still work with boneless pieces of chicken breasts? Sounds wonderful, I hope it works I want to try it with what I already have in the fridge.
Your blog is great. Tortilla soup has been a real hit. I served it at a family reunion last weekend and everyone loved it.
Karen, I haven't tried it with boneless skinless breasts, so this is me talking off the top of my head (at 5:30 am). 🙂
It will probably work with boneless chicken breasts, but you will want to reduce the roasting time a bit so the breasts don't dry out. (The skin and bones insulate the meat and protect it from direct heat.) Depending on the size of the breasts, you can probably deduct anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes off the roasting time.
Then again, the whole point of doing the pan sear is to brown the skin and get it crispy, and since you have omitted the skin you could choose to reduce the skillet time. Having the drippings from the skillet browning does make a nice base for the sauce, so I wouldn't not skip that portion altogether.
No matter which way you choose to do it, just keep an eye on the chicken and don't let it dry out. Hope it works for you!!
This looks delicious! Will have to add to my list of things to try! I love maple syrup, and with the pepper this is sure to please!
Made this for dinner last night. We loved it. A nice blend of sweet and bite from the crushed peppercorns. Thanks. Made your banada bread too which lasted on the counter a whole 15 minutes. haha
This is my first time making anything on your site as I just found it....and I think I just fell in love with you!!!
by FAR the best roated chicked recipe I've found so far. I substituted fresh rosemary instead of thyme (personal preferance).
Thanks so much for sharing it.
April Tan says
The taste of the black pepper chicken is awesome! My husband and kids like this dish very much. My husband said this black pepper dish improves digestion and promotes intestinal health. I guess he is right, because black pepper is full of enzyme. To make the chicken taste even better, I thrown in a few gloves of crushed garlic and 1 teaspoon of mince ginger. The sweetness of garlic, give the chicken slightly nutty flavour it is very appetising. The shortcoming of this dish is it was slightly saltiest (Due to time constraint I forgotten to add in brown sugar!).
Here is the last weekend dinner ( pepper chicken, tomatoes& cabbage salad, rosemary bun and spring onion with brown sauce.
If you wish to have moist chicken, the meat probably have to baste multiple time in the whole baking process. I reckon this buy one get one free pastry brush will be quite useful and it won’t cost a fortune to buy it.