I was a little wary of this combination being sweet, however the pear mixed so well with the chicken escalopes and the sauce was absolutely delightful - quite a different taste to most other chicken dishes I have made.
The secret is not to cook the chicken breasts for long as they are then tender and not chewy.
The mushroom and broccoli risotto was a healthy, nice accompaniment for this meal.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes (plus marinating time 5 minutes)
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 large servings
Ingredients For the maple chicken 600 g free range chicken breasts
1 large pear, sliced round, core removed
1 garlic clove, crushed
Bit of fresh rosemary
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
Baby spinach, to serve (optional)
For the broccoli risotto ½ large leek, sliced thinly
200 g mushrooms (mixed if possible)
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp fresh rosemary or dried
125 g arborio rice
40 ml white wine
375 ml vegetable stock
150 g broccoli, cut into small pieces
½ cup parmesan, grated
Method For the broccoli risotto
Preheat the oven to 180°/160° fan forced.
Heat a bit of olive oil in a casserole dish and cook the leek, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until soft.
Add the sliced mushrooms, garlic and rosemary, and cook till the mushrooms are starting to get soft.
Add the rice and stir for about 1 - 2 minutes until it gets glassy looking.
Add the wine, stir for about a minute, and then add the stock.
Bring to the boil, stirring sometimes, add half the cheese, cover and transfer to the heated oven.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Stir in the broccoli pieces and bake for another 10 minutes.
Leave covered for a few minutes.
For the chicken
Start these about 15 minutes before the risotto is ready.
Combine the maple syrup, garlic and paprika in a bowl.
Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally.
Add the chicken to the bowl and turn each one to coat. Cover and let it soak for about 5 minutes.
Drain the chicken and keep the marinade.
Heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the chicken for about 2 - 3 minutes on each side (depending on thickness), or until JUST cooked through.
Put on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm, or put in a second oven on very low heat.
Add the sliced pear to the frypan and cook for about 4 minutes turning once. Cook till the pear is tender and golden.
Add to the plate with the chicken, and keep warm.
Add the balsamic, mustard and the reserved marinade to the same pan, and bring to the boil.
Cook for a minute or two or until it thickens slightly.
Plate some risotto onto or next to a piece of chicken.
Put the pears on top, and top with the delicious sauce.