When my brother Jay and I were little, one of our favorite T.V. shows to watch after school was The Brady Bunch. I remember that we only had about five or six channels to choose from (as opposed to what seems like five or six hundred today), and we actually had to get up off the floor to change the channels or adjust the rabbit ears wrapped in aluminum foil. Lucky for us, two episodes featuring the Brady family antics aired back to back, so we had a full hour of uninterrupted T.V. time with Greg, Marcia, Peter, Jan, Bobby, and Cindy (a.k.a. The Silver Platters).
One of my favorite Brady Bunch episodes was "The Personality Kid", because that was the one where Peter kept saying "pork chops and applesauce" with a Humphrey Bogart accent. I have no recollection as to what that episode was actually about, but I do remember Jay and I walking around the house doing our impersonation of Peter's impersonation and, because we had never had the pork chop/applesauce combination for dinner at our house, I remember thinking that it sounded a little odd.
I guess you could say that this recipe was inspired by that episode. I came to learn that the pork and apple combination was actually pretty common, and very tasty. This recipe uses chicken in place of pork, and instead of applesauce, pairs it with a chopped apple and raisin sauce. The maple-mustard glaze adds a nice sheen and a bit of flavor contrast to the sweet spiced apples. It comes together really quickly and would make a great weeknight meal. Here are some tips for this sweet and savory chicken:
- When I made the chicken, I served it along with some maple-glazed roasted vegetables. I halved some brussels sprouts and sliced some carrots on the bias, and then I tossed them with a little bit of olive oil and maple syrup. I spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then roasted them at 375F degrees for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. Try this with any combination of vegetables that you have in supply.
- Center-cut pork loin chops (about 1 1/2 inches thick) would be a good substitution for the chicken breasts in this recipe.
- I like to use Granny Smith apples in this recipe, because their tart flavor helps to cut the sweetness a little bit, but you can also use golden or Gala apples.
- The spiced apples can be prepared several hours ahead of time and then reheated over low heat just before serving. Store them in the refrigerator, covered.
- Apple juice may be substituted for the apple cider.
Maple-Mustard Glazed Chicken with Spiced Apples
4 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Generous pinch of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
In a medium saucepan, cook the apples with the cider, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, and salt over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
In a large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then add it to the skillet and cook for 6-7 minutes on each side, or until browned and cooked through. Stir the maple syrup and mustard into the skillet with the chicken and cook for 2 minutes, turning the pieces of chicken to coat with the sauce. Top the chicken breasts with the reserved spiced apples and serve.