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Maple-Thyme Roast Chicken

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Serves four.

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 63

  • 4-lb. whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne

Position a rack in the upper third of oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Set the chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. Use kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it. Flip the chicken over and press down on the breasts with the heels of your hands to flatten it a little. Rub 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper all over the chicken and set it breast side up in a 9x13-inch baking dish (the chicken should fit snugly).

In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, oil, vinegar, thyme, and cayenne with 1 tsp. salt. Pour the mixture evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/4 tsp. salt and several grinds of black pepper. Roast the chicken, basting or brushing it occasionally with the pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh registers 170° to 175°F, 45 to 50 minutes. (Keep an eye on the pan juices; if they seem to be burning, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the bottom of the pan.)

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes, cut it into pieces, drizzle it generously with the pan juices, and serve immediately

Serving Suggestions

Serve with roasted potatoes and sautéed greens.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 650; Fat (g): fat g 36; Fat Calories (kcal): 320; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 59; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 19; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 9; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 660; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 190; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This was a very simple dish and the maple-thyme sauce has a wonderful flavor. I will definitely make this one again with a few minor changes! To make serving easier I will break down the chicken and arrange in a single layer skin side up in the baking dish prior to baking. I will add a little more thyme, per another reviewer suggestion. Finally, I learned the hard way that the height of the shelf in the oven is important. I had mine one shelf too low and the skin was a little soggy and didn't caramelize like in the photo. Despite this, the chicken had a great flavor and was very moist!

It was most enjoyable. 1st time I've taken out the backbone and pushed the chicken down. Cooked evenly. Drawback is that it's more awkward to carve. Good weeknight meal.

This was truly one of the best roast chickens I've had in a long time (and trust me I've roasted a LOT of chickens over the years). The spatchcock method worked wonderfully and the maple glaze was sweet and sticky and just heavenly. Served with baked sweet potatoes and broccoli for an awesome Sunday meal.

This is a winner. Easy too!

One of the easiest recipes and so delicious. I used cornish hens instead and omitted the pepper. My toddler loved it! So yes, even kids can't resist the sweetness from the maple syrup.

YES YES YES! I felt the need to give this a review boost because it looks a little light on 5 stars...especially for how simple this recipe is. I've made it twice now. The first time I substituted the whole chicken for chicken breasts. (Don't hate, it's all I had on hand and our freezer needed the space.) Either way you make this, you will not be disappointed. I'm sure this is superfluous...but if you do sub with boneless skinless the time won't be the same so it's best to keep an eye on the oven. Made this with Caramelized shallot and mashed potatoes--another recipe from fine cooking--and made a gravy from the drippings that sent us to the moon! (Check out my review on the other recipe if you would like to see what I did, but it's just your basic gravy.)

I made this sticky, sweet, slightly spicy, yummy, herby goodness for a dinner party. It was a BIG hit with my friends. The most important part, it was really easy to make so I actually had time to enjoy my friends instead of slave in the kitchen.

A family favorite since it was first published! Make sure to use real maple syrup - the result is not so good with breakfast syrups.... And we double the fresh thyme from the garden. Served with Trader Joe's "Brown Rice Medley," and a salad, this is QUICK on a weeknight and great for leftover lunch.

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