I was conflicted. The Kentucky Derby is about to happen (Saturday) and Mother’s Day is Sunday. I wanted to acknowledge both events but only have time to do that in one post. Recovering from a two-week bout of flu, I wanted to treat myself to a bourbon theme. I’m a huge Derby fan and also a fan of bourbon. Particularly in foods! I love a bourbon sauce on salmon and have liked bourbon chicken I’ve had in restaurants.
It was time to do a copycat version of bourbon chicken. In researching I’ve found most of the recipes explain it was invented by a chef on Bourbon Street, hence the name. No bourbon is included in the recipes! Not good. I wanted the bourbon chicken that tasted like bourbon because there is bourbon in it!
I did find a recipe I thought looked good. It had 1/2 cup of bourbon in it and my eyes opened wide. Yes! Makers Mark, meet my chicken! Dinner was going to make mama smile! Then I’d surf the Kentucky Derby site and choose my horse. My choice NEVER wins, but it’s all fun.
I mixed the marinated ingredients in a plastic container and added the 2# of chicken breasts I’d cut into 2″ pieces. I let them marinate for about 4 hours as the recipe suggested.
At 4 hours I heated my large nonstick skillet with a little oil and placed the chicken pieces in the skillet. I stirred them and cooked them about 3-4 minutes until they were no longer pink. I added half of the marinade to the skillet and stirred occasionally as the sauce bubbled and thickened as it reduced down.
The serving suggestion was on white rice but I was already making arancini as a side dish so we had our chicken with the lovely sauce drizzled over it. It was SO good I almost licked the plate! The bourbon chicken was just what I had remembered and imagined. The chicken was tender and moist, the sauce was delicious. The bourbon wasn’t overwhelming but you could certainly use less if you’re not as big a fan as I am.
I wished I’d put all of the marinade into the skillet and made it all into sauce. Then I could have had my leftovers with rice and a good amount of bourbon sauce. It seems like a shame to waste half of the sauce! Next time I’ll use it all.
1/2 cup bourbon (I use Makers Mark)
1/2 cup soy sauce (use a low sodium soy sauce or cut the sauce amount to 1/4 cup to prevent overly salty chicken)
1/2 cup water
4 cloves garlic; minced (I used 2 teaspoons of a paste that included both minced garlic and ginger)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger (I omitted due to paste mentioned above)
2 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 chicken breasts; cut into 2″ pieces (I had 2 large chicken breasts)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used extra virgin)
Place bourbon, soy sauce, water, garlic, brown sugar, ginger, wine and sesame oil in a container or zippered bag. Mix well. Add cut up chicken and marinate for at least 4 hours.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil. Sauté chicken for several minutes until it is no longer pink.
Add half of marinade to skillet and let bubble and reduce down until it thickens a bit.
Serve chicken over rice with a drizzle of the sauce.