Simple satisfaction

Oven-baked chicken with wine and maple sauce

Unbelievably easy, simple, quick to prepare and tasting exceptionally good — this is the sort of recipe we all need.

Although it takes just under an hour to cook, there is actually very little work here. Chicken cooked this way is luscious and tender, and all the aromatic flavours in the sauce enhance it.

The trickiest part is removing the skin from the drums.

Initially I was concerned that without their skins and with no lid on the casserole dish the drums would dry out.

But no — they emerged tender and succulent.

I love recipes that don’t require pre-browning in a frying pan. Whenever possible I try to eliminate this.

With a thoughtful combination of ingredients and judicious spicing, this step is not always necessary.

Serves 6-8


8 or 9 chicken drumsticks (about 1.1kg)

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice


2 Tbsp plain flour

⅛ tsp chilli powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp ground ginger

2 Tbsp crushed garlic

3 Tbsp tomato paste

3 Tbsp pure maple syrup

250ml dry red wine

2 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary leaves

Rosemary leaves to garnish


Remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks. Lightly oil the base and sides of a shallow roasting dish or casserole dish about 25cm x 18cm x 5cm.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil and lemon juice.

Place the chicken drums in the casserole dish and brush them liberally all over with the oil and lemon juice.

This can be done well in advance, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

When ready to cook, position a shelf in the middle of the oven, preheat to 200°C. Place the chicken inside uncovered and cook for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking combine the flour, chilli powder, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, tomato paste and maple syrup in a medium size bowl. Carefully stir together until smoothly mixed. Stir in the red wine and rosemary. Set aside.

When the chicken has cooked for 25 minutes, remove from oven. Turn the drumsticks over and drizzle the sauce evenly over the top.

Return to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, basting once during this time.

Do not over cook. It will become tough and dry.

Remove the chicken from the oven, let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve with fluffy mashed potato or a good bread and seasonal salad.