So...it's been a bit of a crazy week so far. My husband had hip surgery three days ago and he's doing great, but things have been even more hectic around here than usual. How this connects to apple cider maple glazed chicken, I have no idea and I'm so frazzled I'm not even going to try, so let's leave it that this dish is absolutely delicious and ideally suited to the season and that you should make it asap. Today or tomorrow at the very least--'cause I don't want you to miss out on the deliciousness factor going on here. Both sweet and savory, with the wonderful autumnal flavors of maple syrup and apple cider, and some Dijon mustard added in for a little tang, this is a dish that will please everyone and comes together fairly easily too. Plus it's a great way to use up that huge apple cider jug that you couldn't seem to leave the apple picking farm without! Sorry for all the non-sequiturs and jumbled thoughts--pay no attention to the crazy lady--just put on a pot of rice or noodles, make this dish and treat yourself and those you love to a meal you won't soon forget--especially if your last one was some rubbery chicken and mushy carrots on a hospital tray!
Maple-Apple Glazed Chicken Breasts
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: About 1 hour (start to finish, but a lot of this is hands-free time)
- 1 1/2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons apple cider, divided
- 1/3 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups apple cider, the corn syrup, maple syrup, mustard, vinegar, pepper flakes and a couple of shakes of salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Place the 2 teaspoons oil into a cast-iron or other heavy oven poof skillet and heat over medium heat, until shimmering and very hot. Meanwhile, put the flour on a plate or into a shallow bowl. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper and then dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Add the chicken, skin-side down into the hot oil and cook for about 8 minutes. When you turn the chicken it should be nice and golden brown and you should hear a lot of sizzling. If not, turn up the heat slightly. Repeat with other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
3. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon of fat from the skillet and cook the onion or shallot for about 2 minutes, until softened. Turn the heat up high and add the apple cider mixture. Let it simmer, stirring every now and then, until the liquid reduces to about a cup and is very syrupy and thick. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Using tongs, add each piece of chicken back to the pan and turn to coat with the glaze. Once coated, turn the chicken skin-side down and place the skillet into the oven. Cook for about 15 minutes and then turn chicken right side up. Continue to cook for another 20-25 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken) until all the pieces are entirely cooked through.
4. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the chicken to a plate. Place the pan over a burner and turn up the heat high--be careful because the handle will be very hot!! Cook the glaze for about 1 minute. Then remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the 2 tablespoons apple cider. Divide the chicken between the plates and spoon some of the glaze over each piece. Serve immediately.
5. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can cook the chicken in an ordinary skillet and transfer it and the sauce to a baking dish to cook inside the oven. Then, once the chicken is done, you can transfer the glaze back to the skillet to finish it off.
Note: Recipe adapted from The Best of America's Test Kitchen 2009 by the editors of Cook's Illustrated.