Hot maple crackling chicken thighs from the Eat With Us cookbook

A quick and hearty meal from a new Canadian cookbook

Image for Hot maple crackling chicken thighs with fried bread and coleslaw from the Eat With Us cookbook

Now that spring has arrived and the sap from sugaring season is flowing like never before, one could argue that there has never been a better time to put Canada’s quintessential ingredient to use in a multitude of maple-inspired recipes.

One such recipe we’ve recently discovered comes courtesy of the Eat With Us cookbook from author-blogger duo Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai, which just hit book store shelves this week.

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The combination of maple syrup with spicy ingredients like chili peppers provides a perfect balance of sweet and savoury while enhancing the dining experience for the whole family by way of a satisfyingly crispy finish.

"The success of our Hot Maple Crackling Chicken Thighs lies in a very simple but important cooking technique involving a cold pan and rendered fat, which results in the crispiest skin ever. Aside from the crackle, what we love about this dish is the sweet and spicy sauce that comes from bathing chili peppers in maple syrup. Simple to make and sticky to the touch, we guarantee you’ll be using this technique far beyond this recipe," says Lago and Mattai in the introduction to this recipe.

Quick coleslaw

2 cups shredded purple cabbage
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp white vinegar
salt and pepper (to taste)

In a small bowl, toss the cabbage and carrots with the mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, then place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Hot maple chicken

4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
2 tsp olive oil
⅓ cup maple syrup
1 chili pepper, thinly sliced
4 slices bread
pickle and cucumber slices (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Pat the chicken thighs completely dry with paper towel. Season liberally with salt.

Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed, oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven. Arrange the chicken in the pan skin side down, leaving space between each piece, then turn the heat to medium-high.

Cook for about 15 minutes, until the skin is crispy and easily lifts from the pan. Flip the chicken and immediately transfer the pan to the oven for 15 minutes, or until it is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced.

Hot maple syrup

While the chicken is in the oven, heat the maple syrup and the chili peppers in a small saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to low for 5 minutes.


Pour the maple syrup into a jar and set aside. Reserve the chilies.

Once cooked, transfer the chicken to a large bowl and pour 2 tablespoons of the hot maple syrup overtop. Gently turn the chicken with tongs to coat, and set aside until serving.

Place the pan with the chicken fat on the stove on medium heat. Lay the bread in the pan and quickly flip to coat each slice. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side until golden brown.

Place one chicken thigh skin side up on each plate with a side of fried bread and coleslaw. Garnish the chicken with chilies. Drizzle remaining hot maple syrup on top.


Alternatively, arrange the chicken, coleslaw, and toast on a large sheet pan and serve with remaining maple syrup as well as pickles and cucumbers for crunch.


Starting chicken skin side down in an unheated pan allows the fat to render out slowly while the pan comes to temperature. This results in a crispy skin. When cooking chicken, always ensure the internal temperature of the meat is 165°F for safe consumption.

Serves 4
Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cook Time:
30 minutes