We’re going out of town (again!) for a quick snap starting tomorrow morning, with an overnight stop in LA-la land and then continuing on for a few nights spent under the great big Western sky with my in-laws* in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I’m packing my Chacos (yes, I own them, and don’t even think of judging me, remember – I did live in Boulder) and a pair of my favorite tall boots (nights in Jackson this time of year should nestle somewhere comfortably in the mid 40s), and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t pumped to browse around for a cozy blanket to toss around my shoulders at the Pendleton shop that’s in town.
*I hate calling them this! It has such a negative connotation, like I’m forced to be bound to them or hang out with them only by law. What can we start calling “in-laws” that we love?! I’m formally accepting your suggestions.
I’m not generally a fan of dumping lots of canned this and that together and – look mom! I made a recipe! – but this here grilled chicken “recipe” does pretty much exactly that. This maple mustard miso chicken (say that three times fast) comes together exactly as it sounds: stir together sweet white miso paste, dijon mustard, and maple syrup as your marinade and ‘glaze,’ season chicken thighs with a little S&P, and grill them up till they’re crisped and charred on the edges and juicy and tender in the middle. That’s it!
I’d be skirting the truth if I didn’t own up to relying on things exactly like this when we’re about to go out of town or when I don’t feel like making a grocery run – I’ve always got all three things in my fridge, and if miso isn’t on your ‘always on hand’ short list, this chicken alone will right that ship tout suite. And for the love of everything that is good in this world, do not use the ‘maple syrup’ that comes out of a bottle shaped like an auntie or a cabin made of logs. A quick google search reveals that corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup along with all sorts of colorings and chemicals are jammed into those bottles, and to be honest I’m not every sure why people continue to eat that stuff glugged on top of things that are already pushing the nutritional envelope. (To be clear I am very much an advocate of pancakes on the weekend, just not of them drenched in fake maple syrup, mm’kay?) (End rant.)
So back to these. Like I said, they are great to whip up last minute/when your fridge is bare/when you’re about to go on vacation and don’t want to buy lots of groceries, and they taste good enough to serve at a weekend BBQ even if you don’t have any of those constraints about you. Added bonus: this marinade is kind of amazing in that it is also muy delicioso on salmon, shrimp, pork chops, and even tofu. The methodology and idea remains the same – salt and pepper your protein, then marinate it for as long as you’ve got (30 minutes and up to overnight), and grill it up, brushing with some of the reserved marinade as you go so it thickens up and makes a nice glaze.
Your easy peasy lemon squeeze-y weekend menu right here. You’re welcome!
Maple Miso Mustard Chicken
Serves 4 (2 chicken thighs each – scale accordingly to appetite!)
This may go without saying, but be sure to use real maple syrup – none of that fake sugar stuff that comes in a bottle shaped like an auntie or a cabin made of logs….that is not actually maple syrup. It’s corn syrup in disguise. See rant above.
You could use chicken breasts or tenders here – they will cook up a lot more quickly though, so keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out. These thighs are also great chopped and piled up on a bun slathered with a bit more dijon mustard and a few leaves of butter lettuce. Easy peasy!
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup sweet miso (I like white sweet miso here)
2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
salt & fresh cracked pepper
5 scallions, light green and white parts sliced
First, season your chicken thighs well with salt and fresh pepper. Whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, the miso paste, grated garlic, and soy sauce, and pour half of the marinade into a ziplock bag; save the other half in the bowl you made it in till you are ready to grill. Put the chicken thighs in the ziplock bag, and toss them well to coat them in the marinade; let them sit, refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
When you are ready to cook them, prepare your grill. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the extra marinade that remains in the bag (as there was raw chicken in it). Grill the chicken thighs over medium-high heat, basting them really well with the reserved marinade so that the heat of the grill causes the sugar in the miso and maple syrup to caramelize and crisp up. Cook the thighs till they are no longer pink in the center, about 3-5 minutes per side.
Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the chicken, and serve.