A hearty and comforting dinner for two, Maple Roasted Chicken Leg Quarters with roasted vegetables baked in the same pan is simple yet packed with flavor. Use chicken legs, thighs, or quarters for an easy and delicious meal.
For the longest time when someone asked what my favorite food was, I didn’t have an answer.
Sure, I love some foods more than others, but nothing stood out as number one.
Was it ice cream? Chocolate chip cookies? Shrimp? Clams?
Then I started thinking about what I would eat as my last supper and still didn’t have an answer.
It wasn’t until I was eating this Maple Roasted Chicken Quarter recipe for the third time in one month when I finally realized what my last supper would be – crispy chicken skin with roasted vegetables underneath.
I’ve always jokingly said that someone should just serve up a plate of crispy chicken skin at a restaurant for my entree.
The chicken meat itself I can take it or leave it, but since I wouldn’t want to waste the meat, it must be dark meat; I don’t like eating roasted chicken breast.
The roasted vegetables underneath – carrot, potato, onion, and garlic – tie everything together with a built-in side dish for a fulfilling dinner for two.
I don’t have a date for this upcoming Valentine’s Day, but if I did, I would tell him let’s stay home and make this roasted maple chicken dinner together.
What would you eat for your last supper?
What is the difference between roasting and baking a chicken?
Roasting and baking may seem like one and the same. Put the chicken in the oven and let it cook. However, there is a difference between the two cooking methods.
Roasting is used to create a crispy, golden brown skin on the chicken. Sometimes the meat is basted for long cooking times, but you don’t need to baste chicken quarters since the cook time is relatively short.
This process requires a higher temperature of 400F (200C) or higher. Anything below 400F/200C is considered baking, not roasting.
You also need to roast your chicken uncovered. If you cover the chicken with foil, moisture is trapped and steams the food, resulting in flabby chicken skin.
What is a quarter chicken?
A chicken quarter refers to the leg and thigh being attached as one piece. My original plan was to use chicken thighs, but the butcher didn’t have any separated.
Instead I bought two fat chicken quarters, which is pretty much equivalent to four small chicken thighs.
Typically for serving sizes, I do one large chicken quarter or two chicken thighs per person.
You can also make this recipe using chicken breast. However, I’m not a fan of light meat so I stick with thighs and legs.
As long as you know your preference between dark and light meat, you can customize it to your liking.
How long do you bake chicken leg quarters?
Baking time depends on how large the chicken quarters are. Typically you bake them for about 40-45 minutes.
The important thing is to cook the chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165F (74C) with clear juices running out when poked.
If the chicken is done before the vegetables, remove the chicken from the pan and let the vegetables roast another 5-10 minutes or until done.
What are the ingredients for maple roasted chicken?
The ingredient list may seem too simple with only maple, fresh thyme, and salt seasoning the chicken skin, but sometimes simple is best.
It’s also why it’s very important to buy pure maple syrup.
Be careful buying maple syrup from the grocery store as a lot of them are pancake syrups with artificial maple flavoring. Make sure the bottle says pure maple syrup.
I usually buy mine locally in Pennsylvania since we have a good bit of maple farms in the area.
How To Make Maple Roasted Chicken Legs and Thighs
Before you start to cook, make sure you prep the chicken quarters properly. Pat them completely dry then rub both sides with salt.
Next, heat your oil in a large skillet until hot. It’s important to not rush this because if your oil isn’t hot, your chicken skin won’t brown and crisp up properly.
Add your chicken skin side down, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. If your skillet isn’t large enough, you may need to brown in batches.
Overcrowding the pan will result in steaming your skin rather than frying it, so make sure you give your chicken pieces room to fry.
Once the skin is brown, flip and cook the other side until brown. Then transfer your chicken to your baking pan, brush with maple syrup, then roast until done.
How To Make Roasted Vegetables
What I love most about this recipe is you cook both the main dish and side dish at the same time. You don’t need to make a second recipe on the stove while the chicken is roasting.
Don’t let the simple roasted root vegetables underneath fool you because they’re anything but ordinary.
Between the maple syrup and the chicken juices, the vegetables are packed with so much flavor, I like them even better than the meat, especially the roasted garlic.
Do you peel the garlic before roasting?
I’m often asked whether you peel the garlic before roasting. I’ve done it both ways and find keeping the skin on the garlic prevents it from burning too much.
More Roasted Chicken For Two Recipes
Looking for other chicken for two recipes for your dinner rotation? Add these easy recipes to your menu planning:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large chicken quarters or 4 chicken thighs, patted dry and rubbed with salt (kosher preferred)
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 teaspoon salt (kosher preferred)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Preheat oven to 425F/220C. Have a small casserole dish or an 8x8 pan ready.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and brown for 5 minutes. Flip and brown the other side for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl add the carrots, potatoes, onion, and garlic and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and salt. Spread evenly into the bottom of the baking pan.
- Once the chicken has finished browning, transfer chicken to sit on top of the vegetables, skin side up. Brush evenly with maple syrup and sprinkle with thyme.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F/74C. If the chicken is done before the vegetables, remove the chicken and cook the vegetables another 5-10 minutes or until softened.