I subscribe to way too many cooking email lists. As a result, I read through a lot of recipes. For this weekend’s recipes, I looked for something to make that reminded me of fall.
No, not pumpkin spice fall.
Leaves falling from the trees, chilly mornings, warm fuzzy socks fall. So when I came across this recipe on Delish, I hit perfection. I imagined maple buckets hanging from trees as the leaves gently fall off the branches. Or at least that’s what’s going on in my Californian mind. Carrots are available year round, but they are still a root vegetable and more common when it’s harder to grow anything above ground. It had fall written all over it.
This main dish is fairly straight-forward and easy to make during the week. I prepped all my ingredients, including chopping the carrots into 1/4-inch round circles.
I chose to use my trusty cast-iron pan to sear the seasoned chicken. Set aside.
In the same skillet you combine the sauce ingredients, including apple cider vinegar, garlic, maple syrup (use the real stuff, not the fake maple-colored corn syrup or whatever that stuff is made of), Dijon mustard, lemon, and thyme.
Add the chicken back in and spoon some sauce over each piece. Add your carrots.
Stick the entire pan in the oven. Twenty minutes later, you end up with chicken that has a sweet, tart blend of maple, apple, and mustard flavors. It was sweet without being cloying. Tart without being too acidic. Spicy without being overwhelming. Perfection. To be eaten in fuzzy socks, next to a warm fire.
Maple Chicken and Carrots
- 5 carrots peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup real maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- In a medium bowl, toss carrots with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Prep the rest of your ingredients.
- In a cast-iron pan or other oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs and sear 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate. Do not discard pan drippings.
- Add vinegar to pan and scrape up bottom bits from pan with a wooden spoon. Add garlic, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.
- Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over thighs.
- Nestle carrots into skillet. Bake until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, 20 minutes. Serve with sauce.