a.o.k. "trial" gourmet (20) more maple syrup!

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Maple-Roasted Chicken Breasts
For an introduction to my "trial" gourmet series, click here.

After my last post you would think that I would be all maple-syruped out already. Not so much. I think I'm on a maple syrup roll. Since last Saturday we've had maple glazed pork tenderloin, cinnamon french toast, blueberry pancakes and maple chicken (the trial gourmet recipe of the week)! Have I mentioned that we love maple syrup? That it's maple season in Quebec? That the local farmers are having a very good year collecting sap from the trees?

What yumminess!

Unfortunately we don't always have the real stuff on hand as the price of a can of maple syrup usually runs between $8 and $10 (for 500 ml). But these days you can find it for as low as $5/can at local grocery stores. We also happen to know a guy (a.k.a. my FIL) who buys a gallon around this time every year (which Brandon assumes is for him...). Suffice to say, there is no shortage of authentic maple syrup at our place!

I think it's become very clear by now that I'm always looking for quick and easy recipes to add to my regular rotation of dinner ideas. I snipped this maple chicken recipe from the Montreal Gazette a few week ago (Thank you Julian Armstrong!) and as easy as it was to make, it took me a while to get organized enough to put it together... (i.e.) Have the right ingredients on hand, remember to take the chicken out of the freezer to thaw and start marinating the meat with enough time left to make dinner...

I finally made it this week and was pretty happy with the result. Not ecstatic. It reminded me of a maple glazed pork tenderloin recipe that I've been making for a few years now - but not as good. On a scale from one to ten I would give it a 7... maybe even a 6.5 (?). Although the flavour was very good, the chicken breast was a little too dry for my taste (maybe it would have been better if I'd marinated it for longer? maybe I just prefer the taste and texture of darker meat?) and the sauce was a little to thin and soupy. With that said, the girls gobbled this up without hesitation and so I'll probably make it again (marinating it longer and possibly with chicken thighs instead of breasts).

Maple-roasted Chicken Breasts
(serves 8)
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups medium or dark maple syrup
1 whole head of garlic
1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place chicken in wide, shallow dish. Pour 1 cup maple syrup over chicken.

2. Peel all the garlic cloves, crush them by banging each with flat side of a knife and sprinkle all but two cloves over chicken.

3. Add 1/3 cup of malt vinegar and stir and turn to coat all sides with mixture.

4. Cover and let marinate an hour at room temperature or six hours in the refrigerator (bring to room temperature before baking).

**On a side note I *love* this marinating container by Tupperware (and no - I am not being paid to say that!). Once sealed shut you can flip it to make sure that your meat (or whatever it is you are marinating) is coated evenly. Pretty nifty.

5. Grease a roasting pan and transfer chicken to pan, shaking off marinade and reserving it. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered, in oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 25 minutes (my chicken breasts were particularly fat and took an extra 10 minutes).

6. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes while making sauce.

7. In a small saucepan, simmer reserved marinade and the remaining half cup maple syrup, three tablespoons of vinegar and two cloves of garlic over low-medium heat for three minutes (up to 10 minutes if you're using a lighter maple syrup).

8. Slice each chicken breast in three pieces on the diagonal and place on 8 warmed serving plates (um... for real? who actually warms their serving plates?) Spoon warm sauce over chicken.

... and Enjoy!



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