Today I’m bringing you recipe #2 from my collaboration with my friend + wildly talented chef Shauna Galante of A Secret Language, and it’s a roast chicken that will make your heart sing. Savory, sweet, buttery…it’s as if a chicken was infused with the flavors of a caramelized onion, but with not an onion to be found. This witchery is the result of a flavorfully complex but delightfully simple sauce—her miso maple butter. It’s generously swept across the skin of the chicken before it goes into the oven, and then again every time you peek to check the temperature progression of the bird. (This means you may want to check the temperature more often than you normally would, as an excuse to slather on more of this goopy magic).
The chicken cooks away in its sweet and savory sauce, surrounded by a nest of fresh time and sage sprigs in the pan, which infuse their herbal goodness deep into the crispy skin + tender meat. It’s not a complicated recipe to make, and the best ones usually aren’t. The best food comes from the simplest ingredients, and this juicy little bird is very much proof of that. When Shauna served it to us at my Creative Mastermind retreat, it was like being enveloped in a delicious and cozy hug. The kind that you couldn’t help but let out a very satisfied and happy soft sigh about.
That’s why I think it’s perfect for the holidays—if you don’t want to go through the fuss of making a giant turkey or a temperamental roast, this chicken is much obliged to be your simple and decadent dinner. Because while you know of its uncomplicated origins, its perfectly golden skin and crispy herb-nest make for quite a striking (dare I say fancy?) presentation for your guests. And if you want to make more servings, just use a bigger pan to fit more chicken pieces in, and increase the miso maple butter recipe accordingly (you definitely don’t want to run out of that stuff). If you make this miso maple butter roast chicken, we’d love for you to tag @asecretlanguage so that we can see the beauty that you’ve made and bask in its golden glory from afar 😀 Enjoy it, my friends!
Miso Maple Butter Roast Chicken
The critical takeaway of this recipe is the miso-maple butter. You can cook the chicken however you like it: skin on or off, bone-in or boneless, a whole trussed bird or even just a few pan-fried wings. Just give the meat a good bath in the miso maple butter towards the end of cooking. If you love the darker, more toasted flavors of burnt miso, maple caramel and brown butter, you can start applying the butter earlier, or use your grill instead of roasting in the oven. If there are vegetarians at your table, try drizzling the butter on smoky grilled eggplant or roasted winter squash.
— Shauna of SecretLanguagePDX.com
- Salt and pepper
- 2 bone-in skin-on split chicken breasts (about 2 ½ pounds)
- 2 bone-in skin-on, whole chicken legs (about 2 pounds)
- 2-4 Tbsp. high-heat vegetable oil, such as avocado oil or peanut oil as needed
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter
- 1 cup good quality miso any variety
- ¾ cup good quality maple syrup
- 6-8 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 packed cup fresh sage
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage thinly sliced
At least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours before cooking, season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Salting in advance allows the seasoning to fully penetrate the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender final product. Cover and place chicken back in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Set a large cast-iron skillet over high heat and add oil, just enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Pat any excess moisture off of the chicken with a paper towel. When the pan is very hot, sear the chicken pieces, skin side down, in the oil, rearranging as needed to crisp up all available surface skin, until lightly golden brown (about 2-3 minutes per side).
Leaving the chicken skin-side down, add garlic cloves, thyme, and most of the sage (reserving some for garnish) to the pan, around and underneath the chicken. Roast, uncovered, in oven for about 10 minutes.
To prepare the miso-maple butter, melt the butter, miso, and maple syrup together in a small saucepan over low heat, whisking to incorporate. (Especially if you use a chunkier miso, it will likely not stay emulsified. Just give it a good stir before each use.)
- Remove chicken from the oven, brush the meat with some of the miso-maple butter, and, using tongs, turn the pieces over so they sit skin side up. The skin should be deep golden brown. Brush the skin with miso-maple butter.
Return to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center of each piece registers 165 degrees, about 20 more minutes. (Pulling the chicken out of the oven to check the temperature is another opportunity to give it another layer of butter.) Depending on the size of your pieces, the thighs may be done quite a bit sooner than the breasts; pull them aside to rest.
- Rest chicken at least 10 minutes on a sheet tray fitted with a rack before carving. Give it a little more butter and a squeeze of lemon as it rests.
Slice meat off the bone, drizzle with one final kiss of butter, and serve garnished with a sprinkle of thinly sliced fresh sage.