I had taken a whole chicken out of the freezer to thaw, so that part was planned. For some reason, though, the bitterly cold weather put the notion of maple syrup into my head. So many options. Too many choices. My main concern was getting all the flavor of the maple syrup. It seemed to me that if I roasted the chicken, it would just roll off. I thought about spatchcocking the chicken, but that seemed too much like barbecue.I considered adding lemon or tangerine juice, but I really didn't want to dilute that wonderful maple flavor.
In the end, I took the easiest road possible. I plopped red potatoes, with the skins on, into my Dutch oven. I cut most of the skin and fat off the chicken and set it on top of the potatoes. I slid garlic inside the cavity, sprinkled salt, pepper and thyme over everything, then poured the maple syrup over it all.
Let me just say that I wanted to drink the resulting mixture of chicken juices and maple syrup. I did wonder if maple syrup would be ooky with potatoes. Turns out it's not. If I had wanted to up the sophistication a bit, I might have reduced the juices to intensify the flavor, but I didn't bother. Yum, hot chicken and potatoes with a maple syrup sauce hit the spot!
Maple Syrup Chicken
red potatoes, with the skin on
drizzle of olive oil
1 whole chicken
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400. Wash the potatoes and remove any blemishes. Drizzle raw potatoes lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Cut the skin and excess fat off the chicken (you can leave it on if you prefer) with small chicken scissors. Rub salt and pepper on it. Place in a Dutch oven and surround with the potatoes. Sprinkle thyme over everything. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Insert garlic into chicken cavity. Pour 1/4 cup of maple syrup over the chicken.
Cover and cook in oven for 40 minutes. Pour remaining maple syrup over the chicken. Cover and cook another 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices rin clear.
To serve, slice the chicken and pour the juice from the bottom of the pot over it. The potatoes are so soft they can easily be smashed if you want to make quick home style mashed potatoes. Or you can serve them whole or sliced.