Maple-Curry Chicken with Kale

January 28, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Ever since my husband tapped a dozen sugar maple trees in our backyard, maple syrup has become the exclusive sweetener used in my kitchen (besides local honey, of course).

This complete meal has a sweet and spicy sauce that highlights the bitterness of the kale, though spinach or chard also work. I use Grade B dark maple syrup for the maple terroir it provides. —purduetina

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup salted butter, melted (optional, but if omitting, be sure to grease the baking dish)
  • 1/2 cup dark, grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 to 5 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 cup finely chopped kale, spinach, or chard
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 4 equal-sized pieces, or left whole
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  1. Preheat the oven to 375º F. To prepare a sauce for the chicken, whisk together the melted butter, maple syrup, mustard, and curry powder in a medium baking dish. Add the kale and chicken. Be sure each piece of chicken is covered with the sauce (especially if using whole chicken breasts).
  2. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, covered, until the liquid has thickened. (If using whole chicken breasts, turn them over and baste with sauce halfway through). Because the greens release some water as they cook, the sauce may appear thin halfway through, but it will thicken a bit by the end.
  3. While the chicken bakes, prepare the bulgur wheat. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the bulgur wheat and let simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, covered. Served the baked chicken and sauce over the bulgur wheat.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Ticketytwo
  • bmallorca
  • AntoniaJames
  • healthierkitchen
  • Burf

25 Reviews

NXL September 13, 2022
This flavor profile is much too sweet. Some acid and possibly some spice is much needed. Also the recipe lacks salt, especially in the bulgar. And finally, the chicken cooked very unevenly. All around disappointment, I am sorry to say.
shirar December 16, 2021
So delicious and flavourful with minimum effort! I replaced the breast with thighs, butter for coconut oil and I added in chopped potatoes instead of kale and it came out great. Will definitely make again and again.
Paula A. August 18, 2016
Do you think this maple syrup-curry-greens combo could be adapted for salmon fillets? I'm thinking less of a curry and more of a sauce... ?
purduetina August 18, 2016
Great idea! I'd just pay attention to how runny the sauce is; I once before made the maple-curry-green sauce only (no chicken) to freeze and then put on turkey slices later. That sauce was okay, but I think it was a little too juicy (I should have cooked the spinach first to remove some of its water maybe?). Good luck and let us know how your salmon turns out!
Ticketytwo October 27, 2015
Just made this but I quadrupled the kale and added West Indian bird peppers because I like spicy. Having it with rice pilaf. Delish!
purduetina November 3, 2015
yay! glad to hear it! quick question: i dont know much about west indian bird peppers; are they easy to grow? do they have another name? how hot/spicy are they? can you tell me a little bit about your peppers? thank you!
Ticketytwo November 3, 2015
I buy them when I'm in st Martin. I've never grown them myself. I think they're also known as pequin pepper. They are pretty spicy but I tend to eat a lot of spicy food so they aren't that spicy to me. They are dried and they aren't as hot as a scotch bonnet for example
Tashipluto May 29, 2015
For me, this is too sweet. I added lemon juice at the table. My sugar tooth son loved it!
ortolan May 23, 2015
Thank you for this inspired and delicious recipe! Like others have noted, it far exceeded expectations. And it's very simple to make--a healthy weeknight winner. I added 2 plump cloves worth of minced garlic and some thyme to the recipe and it was divine.
Michelle May 23, 2015
Has anyone tried freezing this? Want to make a big batch and freeze a few portions, but I'm thinking the kale might not stand up to being reheated?
Archaeogrrrl May 24, 2015
The kale is finely chopped and ends up almost melted into the sauce. We thought that this dish is what would happen if my very Southern grandmother had decided to make saag paneer. (To be clear, we were all very happy with that comparison.) I find that the spinach part of saag paneer freezes just fine so I would be willing to risk freezing.

If you're hesitant maybe just freeze one portion for 7 days and see what you think?
Michelle May 25, 2015
Thanks! That sounds promising. I'm going to give it a go. I appreciate the comment!
purduetina May 27, 2015
@Michelle : I have frozen this with spinach and chard, and that was fine...but not kale! let us know what you do!

And, @Archaeogrrrl , thank you for your comments!
bmallorca May 10, 2015
Great flavors and so easy! I added more than double the kale, and 4 small carrots cut into chunky rounds, for extra color. Everyone really enjoyed it. Thank you!
Archaeogrrrl May 10, 2015
This was much better than I was expecting, and I expected it to be incredible.
I added caramelized onions and some minced jalapeño to the chopped kale. Then I discovered I was inexplicably out of coarse bulger so I baked some hulled barley in chicken stock.

Thank you so much, everyone here loved dinner.
Tara Z. May 4, 2015
Love this recipe! So simple, 2 out of 3 family members ate it which is a win in my book. Will add more kale next time.
AntoniaJames May 4, 2015
So intriguing. ;o)
healthierkitchen May 4, 2015
Sounds terrific and I have tons of kale to use right now!
Burf May 3, 2015
This was great! A little sweet but i think i'd make this again exactly as written. We topped with yogurt because our curry powder had some definite oomph.

My fam has been making maple syrup for a few decades. From our experience, the color never played a huge role in the flavor. From the same sugarbush, you could come up with any grade (the first boil of the season was nearly always an A, and got darker as the sap season progressed).
pamela May 1, 2015
I'm going to make this with a whole chicken, cut into parts. I will roast it until each piece is cooked through, probably removing the wings and breasts before the thighs and legs. Looks like a great recipe and we have no shortage of maple syrup here in Maine! Thanks!
abeneplacito April 30, 2015
this looks like a brilliant weeknight dinner. question: would skin-on breasts (with or without the bone) work? and if so, how should i change the process? some folks in my household love crispy chicken skin, others are prefer skinless chicken.
purduetina April 30, 2015
Thanks for your question! Skin-on breasts would probably work just fine. I don't cook a look with skin-on breasts (or whole chickens for that matter) so i'm not sure what if anything you should do differently. I'd guess it would depend on how crispy you want the chicken skin to be? Please let me know what you end up doing-I would like to know, too!
Joan T. May 4, 2021
This is years past your post but Jacques Pepin removes the skin when cooking in a sauce. He then bakes the skin until crispy and will top the dust with the diced crackling. It yummy.
purduetina February 21, 2014
Not really, our darker syrup is dark and maple-y. We also made some lighter syrup, which was sweeter (and boring). One batch, did have a noticeable smoky flavor, (this was not what I was going for).
AntoniaJames February 12, 2014
Wow. A dozen sugar maple trees in your yard! That's amazing. Does the maple syrup you make taste very different from the higher end Grade B in the stores? ;o)