This fast and easy chicken dish with a rich, flavorful pan sauce goes from stove to table in under 30 minutes. It will warm you up on a chilly fall weeknight.
One would think that when your kids have grown to an age where they have become mostly self-sufficient, the pace of life would slow down and there would be more time. One would think.
When my boys were young and required nearly all of my time and most of my energy, I used to dream about all of the time we’d have on our hands when they were older. I had visions of what I’d do with those hours and hours that I spent at baseball and water polo games, helping with homework, providing car service to and from school, sports, the library, and sitting in the waiting room at the dentist. And now, here we are, and exactly where is that time? My dreamy plans of shopping for produce, seafood, and meats at specialty markets and taking time to set a nice table and light candles before serving a carefully planned and prepared meal have been dashed.
Between my blog work and our family-owned business, many days I find myself walking in the door less than an hour from when we need dinner on the table. Many things have changed but one thing remains the same – fast, easy meals with easy cleanup are still at the top of my list. This incredibly simple chicken dish with a deep, rich sauce suits my life and the fall season perfectly.
Let’s get cookin’.
Grab a large skillet or saute pan and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Saute a couple of pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts over medium heat. Season with a little salt, fresh ground pepper, and some fresh thyme. In quick dishes like this it’s always best to pound those pieces of chicken a bit thinner so they’ll cook quickly and evenly.
Ingredient note – while it’s always nice to use fresh herbs, don’t hesitate to sub dry thyme if that’s what you’ve got on hand. Just remember to use less. Dry herbs are far more potent than fresh so you typically should use one-third to half of the amount called for.
Flip the chicken over and repeat the seasonings on the other side. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked through, transfer it to a dish and set it aside. Moving on…
Add a little more oil to the pan, some thinly sliced onion and a good amount of minced garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and is lightly browned.
Time to make the quick pan sauce. Whisk in some chicken broth, balsamic vinegar (yum!), a touch of pure maple syrup, and a dollop of Dijon mustard. Few ingredients but BIG flavor.
Bring the sauce to a boil then reduce the heat and let it simmer for several minutes. The sauce will reduce down a bit and become slightly syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat.
Nestle the chicken into the pan sauce and spoon some of the sauce over the top.
Okay, so maybe there’s time to light a couple of candles. This is definitely a candle worthy meal.
Maple Balsamic Chicken
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, pounded thin and cut into serving size pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and season with half of salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes then flip chicken over and sprinkle with remaining salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook an additional 5 minutes or until browned and completely cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add remaining oil and then add onion and garlic to skillet and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly browned. Whisk in the broth, vinegar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Cook at a low boil for about 3 or 4 minutes until sauce has reduced a bit and is syrupy. Remove skillet from the heat. Return cooked chicken to pan, nestling it into the sauce. Spoon some of the sauce over chicken and serve.