This was a crockpot experiment that turned out beautifully. The sweetness of the maple syrup is tempered by the mustard and fresh garlic. I served this over veggie quinoa* but it would work well with rice too.
2lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into chunks (I used chicken breast)
1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup stock (I used veggie but chicken would work too. Or just plain water in a pinch. Or maybe white wine if you're feeling fancy?)
1/2 cup mustard (I used grainy Dijon)
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped (this worked out to be a heaping teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary)
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste (I don't salt before I cook because the stock I use tends to be salty enough for our taste)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch + 1 Tablespoon water (optional - to thicken sauce at the end)
Put chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Layer onion, carrot, and celery on top.
Mix together sauce ingredients (excluding cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water) and pour over veg / chicken.
Cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 3.5 - 4 hours.)
If you want to thicken your sauce into a sort of glaze, mix cornstarch with cold water until dissolved. Add a spoonful or two of your hot cooking liquid and stir until combined. Pour into slow cooker and stir until mixed well. Let it bubble away for a minute or two until the sauce is thickened nicely.
A few notes for the next time I make it: the flavour of the fresh rosemary was decimated by the long cooking time. I think I'll throw it in at the very end next time, probably during the cornstarch step so I'm not taking the lid off the slow cooker too many times (first rule of slow cooking: do not remove the lid unless absolutely necessary.)
This dish is sweet. The maple flavour is nice but I feel like it could really benefit from a hit of apple cider vinegar or something acidic (lemon juice maybe?) to add a sweet / sour note. Next time I make this dish I will add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to see what happens.
Overall I'm happy with this experiment. I didn't have a lot of ingredients on hand, or a lot of time to make dinner, but I still managed to come up with a healthy, satisfying meal. This cost about $17-$19 to make and we ended up with 6 large portions (and I used the hippie happy boneless skinless chicken breasts - it would be cheaper to make with different chicken.)
In a large saucepan, saute 2 diced carrots and 2 diced celery stalks in a tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 cup of dry quinoa and 2 cups of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit - covered - for 2 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve. (This is also good with some chopped onion, minced garlic, chopped bell pepper ... the sky's the limit!)