This is my third or fourth attempt at turning this idea into a recipe. For those of you who weren't already regaled with this story: During my Christmas vacation, it happened that I was sitting on my mom's couch, eating a pancake with maple syrup, when my eyes lighted upon the jar of chipotle powder I'd been given for Christmas. Neurons fired, and I thought, hey, chipotle and maple, that'd be tasty. But not on pancakes. Chicken, on the other hand... yum.
My initial thought was to marinade chicken legs or breast strips in maple syrup and buttermilk, then bread them with a chipotle batter and deep-fry them. American in style, but with Canadian and Mexican overtones - hence the NAFTA part of the recipe. But deep frying is a pain in the butt so here's a less American version that's reasonably healthy and darn tasty.
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp or so chipotle powder
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
oil for browning
Turn the oven on to 325F.
Get out a heavy, oven-proof skillet, and heat it up on the stove to medium-high.
Mix the flour and most of the chipotle and a generous bit of salt (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp?). Dust the chicken thighs (works better with skins removed) with the seasoned flour.
Add a small amount of oil to the skillet, and put the chicken thighs in the skillet to brown.
Meanwhile, mix the maple syrup, rosemary, a bit more salt and a touch of the chipotle in a small bowl.
When the chicken has browned on the "bottom" of the thighs, turn it over and brown the top. Brush the bottoms with the maple syrup mixture, then flip them over again, brush the tops, and put it in the oven.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Brush chicken again with the maple syrup mixture, bake another 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
I just had one thigh with a good salad for dinner last night. I was going to make a barley risotto to go with it, but I was kind of tired and didn't have any white wine, so that's a recipe for another day. (For the record, 1 thigh = 1 serving meat (~14 g protein, 6 g fat))