Saturday, March 15, 2008

0 Recipe #34: Honey-Glazed Bourbon Chicken (Au Nouveau) - A Fresh Reinterpretation of An Old Southern Classic....

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As promised, I'm now (at long last!) going to post the first of two Bourbon-inspired recipes,"Honey Glazed Bourbon Chicken," which is a recipe I worked up on the fly as I was trying to figure out what I was going to make for dinner last evening. (As I was pondering this question, my eyes just so happened to land on a bunch of Bourbon bottles resting on top of my bar area, et le voilà, an idea was born. ;-) )

The recipe is a new twist on an old Southern favorite, "Bourbon Chicken." The two of us had it for dinner last night & OMG, was it amazingly delicious!!!! So you lucky ducks, you! (LOL); in just a few moments, I'm going to be sharing that little gem of a recipe with you..... Hot off the presses, taste-tested, & given the seal of approval by its author & her significant other alike. [And let me tell you, this author's fiancé has a very discerning palate (not much escapes his notice) & is quite straightforward & fair in his assessments. At times, the author of this blog wishes that the delivery of these opinions wasn't always quite so straightforward (LOL), but atleast it's good to know that he'll always give me an honest opinion when asked. After all, a well-intentioned, constructive critique, when it is of the solicited kind, can be educational, character-building, & ultimately good for the soul. ;-) ]

Anyhow, as many of you probably already know, "Bourbon chicken" is a famous recipe that's often associated with Cajun-style cooking, BBQ, & Louisiana -- more specifically, Bourbon Street in New Orleans, which is also the origin of its namesake. Chinese restaurants also have been to known to serve a version of it as well. (In addition to the obvious ingredients of Bourbon whiskey & chicken, the traditional recipe also typically incorporates ingredients commonly used in, & associated with, Chinese cooking -- i.e., soy sauce, ginger, garlic, vinegar, corn starch, & brown sugar.)

My original recipe was created in the spirit of the classic Southern-style Bourbon chicken, retaining its tangy, spicy, & sweet flavors, but also adds some new ingredients & textures, & is a tad bit healthier than its more traditional incarnation as well. (Yes, even with all that booze! ;-) ) I hope you enjoy it! We sure did!

So now you've heard all of the backstory from the past 2 posts, & have waited ever so patiently, I bet you just can't take it any longer. Are bursting with anticipation yet?! Heheheheh. Anyhow, enough anecdotes for one day already (!), let's get straight to the recipe:

Honey-Glazed Bourbon Chicken (Au Nouveau)

1 Tbsp. butter
2 shallots, diced
1/2 of 1 red onion, diced
1 c. Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey (i.e., Old Grand Dad, etc.)
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, defatted
1/2 tsp. dried tarragon leaves
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. dried parsley leaves
1/4 tsp. lemon peel
juice of 1 lemon (Use fresh, not bottled/from concentrate!)
1/8 c. toasted, slivered almonds
4-6 large (fresh) mushrooms, sliced into 1/4" thick pieces
1 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1 dried red chili, crushed (optional)

1. Chop onions & shallots & put aside.
2. Slice mushrooms & put in a bowl.
3. Wash & slice chicken breasts into small strips, & put aside.
4. Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions & shallots. Cook until translucent, but do not allow them to brown.
5. Deglaze pan by adding 1/2 c. Bourbon.
6. Toss in mushrooms & season with salt to aid in evaporation of moisture. Cook until mushrooms are soft but do not let them shrivel or burn.
7. Add chicken strips & then pour in remaining 1/2 c. of Bourbon.
8. Next add lemon juice & peel, & all remaining spices (taragon, thyme, parsley, black pepper, & chili pepper if using).
10. Stir often, cooking chicken on each side for about 3 minutes, or just until chicken is mostly cooked, but still has a warm pink center. Be sure to drizzle each side with honey when you flip the chicken over. IMPORTANT: At this stage, you don't yet want to cook the chicken all the way through.
11. If need be, gradually add a bit more Bourbon as the chicken cooks to keep it moist. Let the alcohol cook down until there's no more than a 1/2" layer of liquid covering the bottom of the pan. Mixture should have a sauce-like consistency, but not be as thick as ocean-liner sludge. ;-)
12. Let chicken cook until warm pink center gradually disappears. When you're done cooking, the chicken should still be soft! Set aside.
13 Toast almond slivers (in a toaster oven) for about a minute or two. Slivers will cook really fast, so be sure to watch them carefully so they don't burn.
14. Divide chicken into 2 portions & place on plates. Sprinkle toasted almond slivers on top of chicken & serve. Enjoy!

Yield: Makes 2 servings.

Chef's Notes & Suggestions: As alluded to above, I used Old Grand Dad, which is 86 Proof Kentucky straight Bourbon whiskey. You can probably get away with using any type of Bourbon whiskey, & could even substitute regular whiskey as well.

This chicken recipe would be great on the BBQ, especially during those warm summer months.

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