2.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, with skin on (around 4 to 6 chicken thighs or breast)
a sprinkle of dried Italian herbs
1/3 cup to 1/2 cup fresh cranberries (or previously frozen)
1 tbsp each maple syrup and balsamic vinegar mixed together to coat chicken during roasting
FOR THE MARINADE:
1/3 cup cranberries
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce or coconut aminos
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black peppers
2 garlic cloves (or 1 tsp minced)
Place in a roasting or baking dish. Set aside.
MAKE THE BALSAMIC CHICKEN MARINADE:
Blend all the balsamic chicken marinade ingredients listed above in a food processor or blender until liquified and smooth.
Pour marinade over the chicken thighs, coating evenly.
Cover and place in fridge to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hrs. (overnight creates great flavor!)
Once marinated, preheat oven to 375F.
Remove chicken from fridge.
Add extra 1/3 to 1/2 cup cranberries, thyme, and Italian herbs to the dish. Spread it out evenly on and around the chicken.
Bake skin side down first for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of chicken thighs.
Remove and turn skin side up. Check for doneness. Then brush each chicken skin with the maple syrup/balsamic vinegar combo.
Add more seasoning (like dried herbs, salt, pepper) to the top if desired. NOTE: If using fresh herbs, wait to add until after you remove the chicken from the oven.
Depending on the thickness of your chicken thighs, either bake a little longer skin side up, then broil. Or if chicken is almost done and not pink, then skip extra baking and just broil for about 3-4 minutes or until skin is crispy and chicken is cooked evenly inside. Check to make sure the internal temperature of the thickest chicken thigh reaches 165F.
NOTE: If using boneless chicken, cooking time will vary on thickness of chicken breast. Check around 35 minutes total.
After thoroughly cooked, remove from oven. Spoon the sauce from the pan onto each chicken thigh/breast and a pinch of black pepper or cracked pepper.
Serve with the roasted cranberries on top and any extra fresh herbs desired.
This is a great recipe to make ahead. Prep the marinade hours before, then just pop in the oven the next day or later in day.
Lower Fat option if you use skinless chicken. Preparation for skinless chicken: The cooking time will be anywhere from 20-35 minutes total. Check at 20 minutes for chicken to reach internal temperature of 165F. No broiling needed.
Notes from readers on cranberry substitutes – you can use fresh cranberry sauce in place of the cranberries. Puree it with marinade and adjust taste as needed. Balsamic vinegar optional.