This is one of those abracadabra meals where someone enters the kitchen and moments later she comes back with a juicy chicken breast covered in a luscious sauce. Guests applaud, glasses are raised, and then silence ensues as people eat until there’s nothing left, some even dare to lick their plates and fingers with glee. Our real-life dinner table lacked guests besides Beaver Pickletooth and Kinu Bear, but cheersing did occur-repeatedly and in waves followed by giggles, and there was some licking of plates, though I won’t say by whom (wouldn’t want to embarrass the toddlers and all).
Made up of FIVE common pantry and refrigerator ingredients, the sauce for the Maple Dijon Chicken is a perfect choice for when guests have suddenly arrived and you need a quick and easy “pull the chicken out of the hat” meal. As if FIVE ingredients isn’t easy enough, you can measure all the sauce ingredients with a 1/4 cup and a tablespoon. It greatly speeds up the process, and with kids as a constant distraction “plop and go” measurements are much appreciated. The sauce is so easy and flavorful that you might find yourself making it several times a week and you just might find yourself dreaming up things you can cover in that glorious sauce, which by my count is a fabillion things so far.
This Incredibly Easy Maple Dijon Chicken is so simple to prepare that you can make it from start to finish in under thirty minutes, though its sophisticated taste and appearance will convince people it took much longer to cook. How easy you ask? Season chicken breasts with oil and thyme and set them aside while you mix the sauce ingredients, which takes about a minute to make! The magic of the meal is in the sauce and the sauce is so easy that you will think something magical occurred. For the sauce, mix together a 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup (yes, it MUST be pure!), 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth, and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Boo-yah! After you sear the chicken, it cooks in the sauce for ten minutes or so. Once cooked through, remove the chicken and add a 1/4 c of heavy cream to the sauce. Add the chicken back to the sauce and, presto, done! Outside of the sauce having fewer ingredients than the fingers on one hand, which, let’s pause for a moment, is really quite remarkable, I still can’t get over how quickly and effortlessly the sauce comes together with the simple “plop and go” measurements. The sauce tastes like a rich and decadent honey mustard but the ingredients all meld wonderfully so that nothing is overly pronounced- mustard haters might even like it. Children and parents gobbled it up in our household.
So now that I’ve explained the entirely easy weeknight way to serve the meal, I wanted to let you know about a beautiful way to take this meal over the top, perfect for when guests, besides Beaver Pickletooth, are over. Peel whole garlic, which takes about a fabillion years per clove (and that sticky peel, ugh!) so do as many as you can tolerate but know that lots are good, nine or ten or more would be perfect. Then break down shallots into equal size pieces the size of the smallest bulb. Throw the garlic and shallots into the pan when you sear the chicken and let them cook in the sauce until tender. You won’t believe how these two ingredients turn the sauce into something truly decadent. These additions add about ten minutes of cook time and a fabillion years of garlic peeling time (buy peeled if you can!), but the end result is so worth the extra effort. In the Cooked documentary, a woman describes handling the kitchen drudge work as a meditative experience where you get “to that point in your mind where this [peeling garlic, fittingly] becomes pleasure instead of drudgery.” So get your Zen on with the garlic peeling and in minutes you’ll be rewarded with the pleasure of a tasty dish.