Let's say one had an overenthusiastic husband who bought a GALLON of maple syrup in Vermont. And said gallon of maple syrup sat on one's kitchen counter for a long time, leering and jeering as one went about one's usual kitchen activities. What would one do?
- Begin by making the glaze. Mix 1/4 cup dark soy sauce (use a Chinese or Vietnamese brand if available; the Japanese will not be as intense) with 1/2 cup maple syrup (you can substitute in honey if you don't have the syrup). Grade B maple syrup, which is more intensely flavored, is better for this recipe (and cooking in general) than Grade A, so use the cheap stuff.
- About half an hour before you start roasting the chicken, brush the glaze over the bird. Don't worry if not all of the glaze "sticks" -- it'll be a lot easier to glaze once the chicken has started roasting. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 475 degrees (if you have a convection oven, use it for the first 30 minutes of cooking).
- Heat a saute pan just large enough to hold the chicken. When the pan is hot, place the chicken breast-side up into the vessel. You should hear a sizzling sound. This step will help prevent your chicken from sticking to the pan.
- Roast chicken for 30 minutes, basting the top of it with the remaining soy-maple glaze every 15 minutes. If the tips of the wings or drumsticks are burning from the sugar and heat, wrap a tiny bit of foil around them. I actually quite like the smokiness of a slightly burnt glaze, but if you don't you can also postpone the basting until after you flip the chicken (next step).
- After the 30 minutes are up, flip the chicken over, baste it again, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Turn the chicken breast side up again, baste it again, and then return it to the oven for 10 minutes to recrisp the skin.
- Once the chicken is done, remove from oven, set the chicken on a cutting board, and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Taste the pan drippings. It should be very savory and sweet, though you can add 1/4 cup of water to it if it's too flavorful. Pour out as much of the fat as you can from the pan, then boil the pan juices until they reduce to a syrupy consistency.
- Cut the chicken into pieces, place over rice or cous cous, then spoon the gorgeous soy-maple reduction over it. The rice or cous cous will absorb all of the chicken, soy, and maple flavors and become super delicious.
Enjoy! If you love this (seriously, you will), you can thank my mom for the inspiration.