21 April 2014

Eats: bourbon chicken

Happy day after Easter, everyone! Are you all nursing chocolate Cadbury egg hangovers? Were you able to pass off a bunch of your leftover ham to your dinner guests, as I did? How about reveling in the glory that is the post-Mass balloon drop?

(Our church totally did a balloon drop. It was, indeed, glorious. Try not to be jealous.)

Even though my mind’s on Easter today, this recipe might take us back in time a bit – back before Lent. That’s because it’s vaguely Mardi-Gras themed, in the sense that it involves bourbon. Up until recently, I felt like I was mostly a gin sort of girl, but my recent penchant for Manhattans might indicate a change in the drink of choice. Phases, we all go through them!

So when I saw this recipe for bourbon chicken, I jumped on it. Really, I can get behind any sort of homemade version of the mall food court dishes I adored as a teen! Let’s do this.

Gather your ingredients. The original recipe calls for half a cup of soy sauce and a quarter-cup each of oil, vinegar, and bourbon. I used olive oil and rice vinegar, because it’s what I had on hand. No need for expensive bourbon, either!

I’ll say it right now: this makes a LOT of sauce. I think it makes too much, and I love me some saucy chicken. If/when I make this again, I’ll halve those amounts.

To that mixture, I added a quarter-cup of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of dried ginger, and several tablespoons of minced garlic. Oh, and green onions!


Then cut up the chicken into big chunks. I used chicken breasts because again, it’s what I had on hand. Thighs would be delicious though!

Considering that I re-read this recipe about thirty seconds before I started preparing dinner for that night, I didn’t marinate my chicken overnight. Or at all, really. It still turned out just fine! (Well, except for the excessive sauce, but how could marinating fix that?)

Fill a 9x13” greased baking dish with the chicken. Not an 8x8”. Don’t learn that the hard way, like I did.

Then pour over the sauce. Man, that looks yummy even with the raw chicken!

Leave it uncovered and pop it in an oven set to 350 degrees. Depending on how big your chicken chunks are, you can bake it 30-45 minutes. Mine took just over thirty minutes, but I was left with a ton of sauce. I was hoping it’d be thicker and stickier (“sticky” is right there in the title!), so I pulled off some of the liquid to reduce in a skillet with cornstarch + water.

It didn’t really thicken enough to my liking, honestly. Definitely reduce the amount of liquid!

That said, I thought this chicken was super tasty! Mr. P isn’t a drinker and he didn’t really notice any bourbon taste, and I just thought it was sweet and tangy and delicious.

Plus it’s super easy, especially if you reduce the sauce to start (so there’s not my liquid-reducing step at the end). You can marinate the night before and pop it in the oven for a relatively quick weeknight dinner. We had plenty to eat plus plenty of leftovers! My favorite kind of meal. Enjoy!

Let’s wrap this up with this week’s meal plan:

Sunday: Easter dinner, y’all! Ham, asparagus, mashed potatoes, salad. Plus Easter candy for dessert!

Monday: General Tso’s chicken (thanks to TJ’s bottled sauce) with garlic noodles

Tuesday: tacos, chips, and guacamole (TACOS EVERY TUESDAY!)

Wednesday: buffalo chicken salad with avocado and goat cheese

Thursday: chicken piccata with parmesan risotto and asparagus

Friday: sausage pizza and salad

Saturday: leftovers

That’s it, dear readers! Hope your week is the sort that makes you as happy as a balloon drop in church.