Maple and lemon chicken marinade

It only takes a couple of minutes to get this spectacular marinade together for whole or jointed chicken.

Maple and lemon chicken marinade

It takes 5 minutes, if that, to get this chicken marinade together before you abandon it to a night in the fridge. The next day, all you need to do is slip everything into a roasting tin and slide it in the oven. While the work is minimal, the flavour delivers maximum impact: sweet and smoky, gently spiced and brightened with lemon.

The particular chicken you use is entirely up to you. For two people I use a small bird, something around the 700g (1½ lb) mark, and spatchcock it, which is to say just remove the backbone with kitchen shears and lay it out flat. (Incidentally, this was a lifesaving technique for me last Christmas lunch: I roasted three flattened chickens in the oven at the same time to feed 12 hungry guests.)

The quantities below will work fine for a jointed chicken or other pieces as well, and I have used this marinade with all wings, all drumsticks and all thighs. I’d say you could easily use these quantities with enough chicken of your choice to feed up to 4 or 5 people very comfortably; just double up if you’re feeding a crowd or working with a very large bird.

Maple and lemon chicken marinade


Serves 4.

1 chicken or chicken pieces
1 lemon
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic
2 star anise

Put the chicken into a large, resealable plastic bag. Grate in the zest of the lemon, then cut it in half and add the juice. Put the reamed out lemon halves in the bag as well.

Measure in the maple syrup, soy sauce, and vegetable oil. Don’t peel the garlic cloves – just crush beneath the flat side of a knife and throw them in, along with the star anise.

Seal the bag up, smoosh everything together to coat the chicken and put it in the fridge to marinate, anywhere from 6 to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to cook, set your oven to 200°C (400°F). Tip the chicken and everything else in the bag into a roasting tin and roast for 40 minutes or until properly cooked through.