There is this greasy-spoon restaurant in the food court at the mall that specializes in Cajun cooking. For years now, The Husband has been obsessed with their Bourbon chicken.
I’m a little competitive when it comes to my cooking and I was determined not to let myself be outdone by a restaurant that sells chicken-on-a-stick. I have tried just about every recipe for Bourbon chicken you can imagine and have never been able to get it right – the flavor wasn’t the same, the sauce wasn’t sticky enough, yada, yada, yada.
Feeling like a complete and utter failure, I put my quest for the ultimate Bourbon chicken on hold for a few years. Then Pinterest entered my life. As if I needed one more thing competing for what little free time I have, now there is a website where I can gather ideas on how to refinish an old coffee table, redecorate my living room, make homemade holiday decorations and then feel like a complete and utter failure because I’ve spent the last hour surfing the web for stuff I’ll never have time to do when I should be cleaning my house. Oh look, and the baby just smeared applesauce through his hair when I wasn’t looking.
Deep breath, deep breath . . .pull yourself together . . .where was I?
Oh yes, I found this recipe on Pinterest. I liked the list of ingredients, added some of my own touches, and changed the method up quite a bit. However, as I started browning my chicken in a skillet I became skeptical because the sauce seemed to be thin and watery just like every other time. The Husband even poked his head into the kitchen, glanced over my shoulder, and then pretended to get a beer from the fridge. I knew from his lack of verbal cues that he was having his doubts too.
After the first batch came out looking kind of pale and sickly, I made some adjustments – added a little flour, let the chicken brown a little longer. Soon the sauce began to turn caramel brown and coat the chicken.
I think I’ve got it! I think I’ve got it!
The real test of course would be whether the Bourbon chicken man himself approved. He took a few bites and I waited in agonizing silence.
“Well?” I finally asked.
He looked at me and nodded. “This one is a keeper. It’s really good.”
So I my house may not always be clean, the laundry may not always be folded, and my kid may occasionally have applesauce smeared in his hair. But I can make a mean Bourbon chicken that The Husband approves of.
I’ll take it.
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup bourbon
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup white granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup cold water
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag.
- Add chicken pieces.
- Marinate for up to eight hours.
- Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the soy sauce, mirin, and sugars. Stir until sugars are dissolved. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add to soy sauce mixture and continue to boil until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Drain and discard chicken marinade. Add flour to chicken pieces and stir to coat.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, spread chicken pieces in a single layer in the pan. Cook until chicken begins to brown, about 3-5 minutes. Using a spatula, flip chicken pieces over to brown the other side. Add ¼ cup of the teriyaki sauce to the pan. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce reduces and darkens in color and begins to coat the chicken. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside. Repeat with remaining chicken. Afterwards, return all the chicken to the skillet. Add another ¼ cup teriyaki sauce. Cook until chicken is heated through and coated with the sauce.
- Serve chicken over hot white rice. Sprinkle with sliced green onions if desired.