Last night I made the most delectable twist on barbecued chicken that I have tasted in awhile. The sweet and spicy combination of maple, molasses and chipotle chilies create a veritable flavor explosion! If you read my previous Barbecued Chicken post several months ago, my enthusiasm should be no shock!
This Maple & Chipotle Barbecued Chicken recipe is from the Feb/March 2013 edition of Fine Cooking, which I picked up in an airport because I didn’t feel like reading my book. It’s not a heritage recipe but I feel that it is so amazing that no justification is necessary! The only thing that would make this better would be to serve it with my Sweet Southern Cornbread. Heavenly.
I didn’t follow the preparation directions because I wanted to use my cast iron skillet. I have an aversion to dry chicken. I don’t care how it’s flavored: if my chicken is dry, I am an unhappy diner. Over the years I have developed a no-fail method for cooking juicy, tender chicken every time. While any oven-proof pan will work, a cast iron skillet makes it that much better.
As a devoted follower of my blog, my Aunt S. recognized my obsession with my cast iron skillets and sent me a cartoon. I’ve been waiting to share it with you, and today it seemed more than apropos!
Maple & Chipotle Barbecued Chicken
Feb/March 2013 Fine Cooking (my preparation instructions)
For the Sauce:
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chilies (from a can of chipotles in adobo ~3 chilies)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the Chicken:
- 1 Tablespoon sweet smoked paprika (a.k.a. Hungarian paprika)
- 1 Tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil
Preheat oven to 400°.
Make the Sauce: In a small saucepan whisk together all sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes to marry the flavors. Set aside. Fine Cooking suggests that the sauce may be made up to 1 day ahead of time.
Season the Chicken: In a small bowl combine all ingredients under “For the Chicken” through black pepper. Dry chicken with a paper towel and place on a clean plate. Sprinkle seasoning generously over both sides of the chicken. Fine Cooking suggests covering the plate with plastic wrap and refrigerating for 2-3 hours. I didn’t have that kind of time, but it can only make it better, right?
Cooking the Chicken: Heat your large cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add 2 Tablespoons of canola oil and heat the oil until it shimmers. Add chicken to the pan. Brown both sides. Brush sauce generously over both sides of meat and place in preheated oven. After 5 minutes brush additional sauce over chicken and check for doneness. Chicken is done when an instant-read thermometer reads 165°. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes.
While chicken is baking and resting, I prepared the brown rice and red kale. I’ve never had red kale before but I saw it in the Farmer’s Market and decided it looked really healthy. I threw some ingredients together and it turned out rather well. The only fat in the whole dish is the oil used for cooking!
Ginger, Garlic, & Lemon Red Kale:
Gently cook over medium heat 1.5 Tablespoon minced garlic and 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger in 1 Tablespoon canola oil until the garlic is just starting to brown. Add chopped kale (1 bunch or ~4 cups) to the pan and toss to coat. Add ~ ½ cup water to the bottom of the pan and stir. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon over kale and stir. Kale will be done in 1-2 minutes.