Sunday, 3 January 2010

Marvellous Maple Syrup Chicken

Most of my books are packed in boxes waiting to be shipped over the ocean to my new home in Scotland. But I deemed a few volumes so important I packed them in my suitcase. One of them is my favourite cookbook, A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong.

Traditional French-Canadian cooking is stick-to-the-ribs good, regional French fare adapted to the rigours of life and the local produce of seventeenth and eighteenth century Nouvelle France (now the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia). One of the most famous ingredients of eastern Canada is maple syrup, and for a delicious, rich and unusual "fancy" dish, I like to make this recipe, adapted for two portions from A Taste of Quebec. Eat the first for supper, and wrap up the second for tomorrow's sandwich.

Real maple syrup (you cannot use the fake stuff in this recipe!) is available throughout Canada and the USA; in Britain, I've found it in Waitrose. So far savoury has been harder to find here, although it is of course plentiful in France. My mother brought me a jar of it from a Canadian supermarket this summer.

Poitrine de Poulet au Sirop D'Érable

2 chicken breasts
1/8 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/ tsp dried savoury (sariette)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried sage
1 small onion, sliced
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

2. Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

3. In a heavy, flameproof casserole, heat butter over the stove until bubbling and then quickly brown the chicken on both sides. Take off the heat.

4. Pour maple syrup over chicken, and sprinkle with savoury, thyme and sage. Then arrange the onion slices on top.

5. Pour water into the bottom of the casserole. Bake, uncovered, for 50 to 60 minutes, basting the chicken occasionally with the pan juices.

Serve with greens and potatoes on your best plate. Have a napkin and a glass of dry white wine handy. Yummy, yum, yum!


Dominic Mary said...

Aha ! NOW I know why B.A. REALLY married you . . . nothing to do with being 'atractive,intellligent, and Catholic', just to do with being the sort of right-minded girl who sees cookbooks as 'so important' that she'll lug them about in her suitcase !

Seriously, though, it sounds fabulous; and you can easily get Savory from Culpeper's, or online from Bart Spices. (But beware of Bart Spices online, or you'll end up with a maxed-out credit card, and a kitchen you can't move in for all the goodies!)

(If you're into cookbooks, you should try and get hold of a copy of 'The Constance Spry Cookery Book' - very English, totally brilliant; and with the ORIGINAL receipt for Coronation Chicken, to boot.)

Janet in Toronto said...

Ooh, I've put this on the menu plan for this week! Sounds delish, especially with maple syrup that we produce ourselves at our family cottage each spring!

When we were living in Atlanta, my mom brought me savoury from Canada as it's a required ingredient for tourtiere and was nowhere to be found. But then again, you can't find multiple colours/grinds/styles of corn meal in Canada, so there you go!

Kate P said...

I have no idea what savoury is but this sounds like a great recipe. Thank you for sharing it! I love maple syrup, and although most often it ends up on oatmeal, I must have it in the fridge at all times. I have a chicken recipe using maple syrup and orange juice that is fantastic.

theobromophile said...

This looks like the sort of recipe that I could cook up for any meat-eating friends who might land in my kitchen. :)

Seraphic said...

I hope it turns out for everybody! Janet, I am so envious of you with your own maple syrup and cottage!