Maple-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Mustard Jus

Every once in awhile I want to make something that is a little process and labor-intensive.  This recipe had been hanging out on my to-make list for a bit, and while it’s not super intensive, it wasn’t a simple marinade and throw in the oven dish.  I used chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because that’s what I had on-hand.  The entire dish was great, slightly sweet, with a nice level of saltiness to it.  It was definitely a possible looks-more-complicated-than-it-is entree.  The recipe came from Food and Wine 2011.

Maple Glazed Chicken with Mustard Jus


Maple-Glazed Chicken Breasts with Mustard Jus

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 c fresh bread crumbs
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 6-oz chicken breast halves with skin
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 c chicken stock
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a large ovenproof skillet, melt the butter.  Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook over moderate heat until golden.  Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a plate and let cool.  Wipe out the skillet.

Add the olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.  Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and add to the skillet skin side down.  Cook over moderately high heat until the skin is browned, 3 minutes.  Flip the chicken and roast in the oven for about 7 minutes, until just cooked through.

Return the skillet to the burner.  Add the syrup and vinegar; bring to a boil.  Turn the chicken skin side down and cook until richly glazed, 30 seconds.  Transfer to plates skin side up.  Add the stock to the skillet; boil until reduced by one-third, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom.  Stir in the mustard and season with salt and pepper.  Spoon the sauce over the chicken.  Top with the crumbs and serve.


Black-Bottom Maple Pecan Bars

With Thanksgiving only days away at this point, it’s fun to think about something slightly outside the norm for dessert.  When I made these bars from the Brown Sugar Kitchen Cookbook, I found them slightly addicting.  Without the complications of a pie and making sure it set, these pecan bars had a rich maple flavor and a bite was satisfying, whereas a full bar was almost too rich.  Yum.  A Thanksgiving dessert where I don’t want to eat the whole thing?  What more could I want?  So, if you realized you don’t want to make a pie for Thanksgiving, check out these bars and put them together today!

Black Bottom Maple Pecan Bars

Black-Bottom Maple-Pecan Bars

Cocoa Crust

1 c flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/3 c light brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c butter, cut into cubes and chilled

Pecan Filling

6 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 c dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp kosher salt
8 oz pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 c heavy cream

To make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8-in square baking pan.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and salt.  Scatter the chilled butter cubes over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Do not overprocess; the dough will look very dry and crumbly.

Press the dough into the prepared pan evenly across the bottom and about 1 in up on the sides; it should be about 1/2 in thick.  Bake until the crust looks dry and slightly puffed, about 15 minutes.

To make the filling: In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the pecans and cream, reduce to a simmer, and cook until bubbling and warmed through, about 3 minutes.

When the crust is done, gently press down on any puffed-up areas.  Pour the filling evenly over the crust.  Bake until the filling has thickened and is bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Cut into 9 squares and serve at room temperature.

Maple Baked Beans

Before summer’s end, I’ve been loving all the baked beans I can find.  Perhaps it’s because there has been a new barbecue restaurant that opened up in my town, or because I attended a picnic a few weeks ago where the cook made delicious burnt ends and beans, but I was excited to try making my own from scratch.  I found a recipe that looked great in the Mile End CookbookMile End Cookbook, and except for the fact that I used regular bacon, I followed the recipe and loved it.  And, the flavor definitely deepened the next day.  If I need to make beans for another occasion, I’ll go back to this recipe without a doubt.

Maple Baked Beans.jpg

Maple Baked Beans

1 1/2 c diced lamb bacon
3 c diced onion
1 lb white navy beans, soaked overnight and drained
5 c chicken stock
2 tsp kosher salt
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 fresh bay leaf
1 c maple syrup
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a heavy ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until it just starts to brown.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s translucent.  Then add the beans, chicken stock, salt, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.

Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Bake until the beans are soft but not breaking apart, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Add the maple syrup and season with salt and pepper to taste; stir.  Let the beans sit for at least 30 minutes — or even better, in the refrigerator overnight — before serving.  The beans will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Rosemary-Maple Cashews

I have started doing a lot of snacking on nuts.  They are a great and filling snack, but I get a little tired of the regular nuts, and so when I have a moment to create something better or come across a recipe that looks particularly fascinating, I am trying it.  This recipe came about as I was looking through an old Food and Wine magazine.  It took me a couple times to make it because the first time I burned the cashews.  These are mildly sweet and the rosemary wasn’t overwhelming on the cashews.  The cayenne added a little kick, too.

Rosemary Maple Cashews.jpg

Rosemary Maple Cashews

4 c raw cashews
2 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, toss the cashews with the maple syrup, olive oil, rosemary, and cayenne pepper.  Spread the cashews on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned.  Immediately season the cashews with salt and pepper; let cool, tossing occasionally.

Maple Mustard Pecans

I was bringing some snacks into work for one of the departmenst that met a goal they’d been working on.  I knew that at least one of the individuals in the department didn’t eat carbs and ate a mostly paleo diet, so when I saw this recipe, I knew it was a great opportunity to make these pecans and make sure that this person also had a snack they could enjoy.  I found this in the Catholic Daughters Cookbook.

Maple Mustard Pecans

Maple Mustard Pecans

2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/8 c maple syrup
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 1/2 c pecans

Mix together all ingredients except pecans.  Stir in pecans to coat evenly.  Spread on a lightly-buttered baking sheet.  Bake approximately 25 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring often.  Cool and break apart.

Bacon Maple Sprouts

Have you seen Alton Brown’s new cookbook?  I’ve been a fan of Alton’s for a long time.  I enjoyed his show Good Eats on the Food Network and continue to enjoy his work.  I also really enjoyed the Alton Browncast Podcast when he was making that.  It was a delightful listen in on things he enjoys.  I really like hearing about the science behind food preparation, and Alton does a great job of explaining that.  As I was putting together my menu for Thanksgiving, I knew I wanted to put brussels sprouts on the menu and as I was dabbling through his cookbook, this seemed like an excellent pick.  So, from Alton Brown: Everyday CookI bring you bacon maple sprouts.

Bacon Maple Sprouts.jpg

Bacon Maple Sprouts

4 rashers bacon
1 1/2 lb Brussels sprouts
1 large apple, chopped
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp maple syrup

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the bacon on a half sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes, flipping once, until crisp.  Remove the pan from the oven and the bacon from the pan.  While the bacon is making the kitchen smell awesome, trim and split the sprouts.

Toss the sprouts and apples with the bacon fat and spread in an even layer on a half sheet pan, placing as many sprouts cut-side down as possible.

Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sprouts are browned and tender.  Crumble the bacon while the sprouts roast.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard and syrup.  When the sprouts and apples are brown, put them back in the bowl you seasoned them in and toss with the maple mustard and bacon.

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

Doesn’t December sometimes feel like a never-ending dessert buffet?  Scratch that.  For me, it’s felt that way since Halloween.  I think I’ve made more cookies, bread puddings, desserts, bars, and other sweet treats in the last two months than I have for years.  Now it’s time to  have some more vegetables inserted into the diet and I thought I should move to a different vegetable in the cabbage family than Brussels sprouts.  The Essential New York Times Cookbook provided a recipe for cabbage that looked worth throwing together.  And, since there is some maple syrup in it, it’s just sweet enough to help ease off the holidays and into the new year.

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup.jpg

Red Cabbage Glazed with Maple Syrup

5 slices bacon, minced
1 onion, minced
1 medium firm, tart apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 lb red cabbage (about 1/2 head), cored, outer leaves removed, remainder shredded
1 bay leaf
1/2 c maple syrup
salt and ground pepper

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In an ovenproof saucepan or casserole large enough to hold all the ingredients, saute the bacon until crisp.  Add the onion and saute until translucent.

Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.