The Year of Maple Syrup

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was the year that failure was recognized as an attribute towards the journey of success. That’s if the lesson was learned from the act of failure. This recipe was a difficult dish to develop. It was perfect the first time. The second attempt was too sweet. The third try lacked a flavorful taste. And, when the dish was finally successful, it was perfect.

Pears

The many variations of this recipe had flavor combinations that canceled each other out to taste like a simple too sweet mess. I knew the ingredients: Maple, pears, chicken thighs and herbs. The first two ingredients—the sweeter flavors—proved tricky to handle, because the recipe is savory. After about a year of trying various combinations of ingredients and techniques, this is the result, and it’s pretty delicious.

Uncooked pears and vegetables in the baking dish
Uncooked pears and vegetables in the baking dish

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

Wild brown rice

Wild brown rice with baby kale

A maple ingredients of the recipe are courtesy of Tonewood Maple, such as the seasoning and Fancy Maple Syrup. Last year (and I’m still using them), I used their products; starting with a touch of maple cream to my morning coffee. A Maple Pecan Granola was created to mix into yogurt. Maple cream was smeared onto Coconut pancakes. A smokey Maple Cumin Bread was garnished with maple flakes. Tonewood Maple Cube shavings topped a Quince Apple Skillet Pancake. The bitterness of Roast Brussel Sprouts with Brown Rice was tamed with Tonewood Maple Seasoning. A Maple Almond Pear Tart was topped with Maple flakes.

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

2014 was all about maple syrup. There were plenty of maple-based recipe failures I didn’t write about, but the successful ones proved worth the effort. Failure is part of the journey in recipe development. And, this Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears Served with Wild Brown Rice and Baby Kale is the grand finale of success.

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears Served with Wild Brown Rice and Baby Kale

Ingredients

  • Ingredients for Recipe
  • 6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
  • 4 under-ripe pears; peeled, discard core; and quartered lengthwise
  • 3 celery stalks; quartered
  • 1 small red onion
  • ½ tsp. sea salt; more or less to taste
  • ½ tsp. fresh black pepper; more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh sage
  • 1 tbsp. of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup wild brown rice; cooked according to manufacturer’s directions
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 to 10 oz. baby kale
  • Ingredients for Maple Marinade for the Chicken Thighs
  • ½ tsp. sea salt; more or less to taste
  • ½ tsp. fresh black pepper; more or less to taste
  • (Optional) ½ tsp. ground red pepper; more or less to taste
  • 1 tsp. Tonewood Maple Seasoning; more or less
  • 2 garlic cloves; minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Ingredients for Maple Thyme Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small red onion; minced
  • ½ tsp. sea salt; more or less to taste
  • ½ tsp. fresh black pepper; more or less to taste
  • (Optional) ½ tsp. ground red pepper; more or less to taste
  • A small bunch of fresh thyme tied with twine
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves; minced
  • 2 tbsp. dark rum (optional)
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp. Tonewood Vermont’s Fancy Maple Syrup
  • Ingredients for Wild Brown Rice and Baby Kale
  • 1 small sweet onion; minced
  • 3 garlic cloves; minced
  • About 1-½ to 2 cups Chicken Broth or Water
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper; to taste
  • ¼ tsp. Crushed Red Pepper (Optional)
  • 5 oz. Baby Kale
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pecans; toasted

Directions

  1. Season chicken thighs with the maple marinade ingredients in a medium bowl or ziploc bag. Cover bowl or seal zip loc to marinate chicken for at least one hour or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 13x2x9” baking dish with foil (for easy clean up).
  3. To Sear Chicken Thighs: Heat a large pot over medium-high temperature. When the pot is hot, add about 2 tbsp. olive oil. When the oil is hot (About a few seconds), place at least two chicken thighs, skin side down, in the pot (Depending on the size of the pot, place another piece, but don’t overcrowd the pot). Sear until the skin is golden brown and turn over to cook the other side. Place seared chicken thighs over a paper towel lined plate. Repeat this step until all the chicken thighs are seared.
  4. Meanwhile, make the Maple Thyme Sauce: Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. When the saucepan is hot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot (about a few seconds), stir in the minced red onion. Season with salt, black pepper and the optional red pepper. After about three to four minutes, stir in the garlic. After about 15 seconds, stir in the rum. When the rum slightly reduces, add the chicken broth/stock, Tonewood’s Fancy Maple Syrup and the tied thyme. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and move saucepan to the back of the stove to keep warm from the heat of the oven. Leave the sauce covered with a lid.
  5. Toss pear quarters, celery, roughly chopped red onion, about a quarter cup of the Maple-Thyme Sauce, two tablespoon olive oil, sea salt and fresh black pepper in the foil lined baking dish.
  6. Place chicken thighs, skin side up, over the pears and vegetables. Brush the chicken thighs with the Maple Thyme sauce. Turn the chicken thighs over and brush them again with the Maple Thyme sauce. Bake chicken thighs for for 20 minutes. Brush chicken thighs with Maple Thyme sauce. Turn them over-- skin side up--and brush them again with the sauce. Bake for at least 25 minutes, or until chicken thighs are completely cooked. When the chicken thighs are done, brush them again with the Maple Thyme sauce.
  7. Meanwhile, Cook the Wild Brown Rice with Baby Kale: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the minced red onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. When the onion is translucent, in about five minutes, add the garlic. Stir for about 15 minutes. Stir in the Wild Brown Rice. Let cook for about three minutes. Stir in the chicken stock/broth or water, butter, two bay leaves and season with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Cook rice as directed by the manufacturer (about 45 minutes to cook, usually over very low heat). Don’t stir the rice until it’s thoroughly cooked. When the rice is cooked, use a fork to fluff the rice. In large bowl, toss the hot rice, baby kale and toast pecans. Adjust seasoning. Cover, keep warm and set aside.
  8. Serve Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears with the Wild Brown Rice and Kale. Spoon pan juices from the Maple Thyme Chicken and Pears over individual plates. Garnish with fresh minced herbs.
  9. Enjoy.
http://blog.sanuraweathers.com/2015/01/the-year-of-maple-syrup/

Maple Thyme Chicken Thighs and Pears

 

One thought on “The Year of Maple Syrup

  • January 5, 2015 at 1:37 pm
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    good lawd……….my mouth is dripping! yummy looking forward to all the goodness in 2015 🙂

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