Maple Cranberry Chicken & The Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival

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Now that spring is here, I have come down with what I will call a case of “winter amnesia”. It’s a state of mind where once we reach spring, all memories of the recent season become repressed…perhaps as a coping mechanism. It feels as though winter happened more than a decade ago. Now that the snow of last year is out of sight…it is out of mind. What winter? Snow, in April? You must be mistaken.I think this behaviour allows us to feel excited for the imminent first snowfall that will greet us later this year…and also prevents a mass exodus to the south. For now though, all I can think of are the buds on the trees, sprouts emerging from the softening soil, and the warmth on my face from the sun.

With the arrival of spring, the sap collection in Southern Ontario comes to an end. We found ourselves going to the Kortright Centre for Conservation’s Sugarbush Maple Syrup Festival last weekend. We may feel slightly sentimental about the location, as this is where we said our vows, but we also love the trails at the Kortright…and who can say no to a lil’ sugar?

Here are some photos to capture our outing.

 

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To use the maple syrup we bought (not made at the Kortright, to be clear, but from a farm just north of there) I went back to a well-loved recipe from my adolescence. My mom would regularly make this chicken dish and there is something so tantalizing about it. Sweet, a little buttery, and a slight tartness from the dried cranberries. Served here with rice and an arugula salad with pear, Parmesan shavings and a maple vinaigrette.

Get your maple on.

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Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, pounded to about ¾” thickness
1/3 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
Salt and pepper
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water or broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3 green onions, divided

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, salt and pepper, and rosemary on a plate. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken breast in flour mixture and set aside.
  2. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, and water in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add chicken, and brown both sides.
  4. Add syrup mixture, cranberries, and most of the green onions, (reserving about ¼ to add when serving), and simmer at medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is done.

Note: Add a little water to the sauce if it reduces too quickly. If you find the sauce is still too runny when the chicken is done, remove the chicken and increase the heat to quickly reduce the sauce.

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Source: Life’s on Fire Cookbook, Sandi Richard

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