I have written before about one of my favourite cookbooks, Lucy Waverman’s A Matter of Taste. I like it so much because it is organized by season and suggests complete menus, including wine pairings. This is one of my favourite springtime recipes from the book. Bone-in chicken breasts or thighs are marinated in maple syrup, cider vinegar, oil, chili power and lemon zest and then baked. The chicken is served with a peppery watercress and red onion salad and either rice or orzo. It’s fast, it’s easy and it tastes great. You can use regular chili powder, or smoky chipotle chili powder.

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes

Maple and chili-infused chicken with watercress salad

To avoid additives and preservatives in this recipe, use pure maple syrup and balsamic vinegar with no sulfites added. You might also want to check the label on the chili powder to make sure no anti-caking agents or colour have been added.



1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp grated lemon zest

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 chicken breast halves, or thighs, on bone, with skin on

Watercress Salad

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 bunch watercress, trimmed

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine maple syrup, vinegar, oil, chili powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Place chicken, skin side up, in a foil-lined baking dish just large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. Pour marinade over chicken. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake chicken in marinade for 30-45 minutes, or until juices are clear. While chicken is baking, prepare salad dressing by combining oil, vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Toss watercress and onions with dressing. Serve salad on individual plates and top with chicken. Serves 4.

From A Matter of Taste by Lucy Waverman