Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Maple-Butter Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Sweet maple syrup and creamy butter make an easy, rich, and flavorful pan sauce for simple seared chicken breasts. A little balsamic vinegar adds its own tangy sweetness for extra depth of flavor.

Roasting vegetables brings out their natural caramelized flavor, and they need nothing more than a bit of seasoning and a light toss in olive oil.

This simple, homey dinner for four is ready in less than an hour—and I promise it’s a welcome sight on the dinner table on a cold winter night.

Note: Preparing vegetables of various shapes and sizes isn’t an exact science. Just cut the round, long, flat, and bulbous veggies into roughly the same bite-sized thickness and you’re ready to go. And if you’re not a fan of any of the veggies I used in this recipe, try sweet potatoes, rutabaga, carrots, other squash, or celery root instead.

Vegetables for Roasting
Serves 4

  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch-thick pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into 4 wedges
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, plus small sprigs for serving
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Prepared Vegetables 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a large, shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the parsnips, squash, turnip, and onion in a large bowl and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss lightly to coat.
  3. Spread the vegetables on the baking pan and roast until tender and browned, turning once or twice, about 30 minutes.
Toss with Seasoning and Oil
Ready to Roast 
Roasted Vegetables
  1. Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy (preferably cast-iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Brush with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and sear until browned and cooked throughout, turning a few times, 13-15 minutes total, depending on thickness. Transfer to a plate. (Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the skillet to help cook the thicker parts, if needed.)
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the maple syrup and butter to the pan, swirling to melt the butter and blend. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves and vinegar. Cook 1 minute.
  4. Return the chicken to the pan and turn several times to coat. Cook until warm throughout, 2 minutes.
Chicken Beginning to Sear
After Turning 
Maple Syrup and Butter Added 
Thyme and Vinegar Added
Chicken Breasts Returned
Serve the chicken breasts with pan sauce spooned on top and roasted vegetables alongside.

Maple-Butter Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

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