Dinner Rush! Sticky Maple Bourbon Chicken
I often joke with people that, in my house, bourbon is a food group. Thing is, I'm not really joking. Aside from the standard cache of artisan cocktails I keep flowing in regular rotation, I do my best to work bourbon into as many other edible applications as possible.
This recipe is a match made in heaven with bourbon, fresh thyme and maple syrup. It's also a really cool method that is universal for preparing almost anything.
The basic idea here is that whatever is being cooked (pork, vegetables or, in this case, chicken) is made delicious and "sticky" by adding a sweetener to a pan sauce and then reducing it while dinner cooks in it. This combo works great with honey, marmalade or even molasses but — being that it's the cozy, fall-into-winter time of year, I'm opting for maple syrup.
So raid the bar, hit the supermarket and give this a try immediately. Once you get the hang of it, I promise you'll be desperately seeking things to make sticky.
Place a large heavy-bottom or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the pan breast-side down and sear until deep golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
While the chicken is searing, in a small dish whisk together the stock, syrup and bourbon. Add the bourbon mixture to the skillet along with the thyme sprigs and continue cooking, turning the chicken occasionally, until the meat is cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a thick syrupy consistency, 8 to 10 minutes. (If the sauce reduces to a syrupy consistency before the chicken has cooked through, add a few splashes of stock to the skillet and continue cooking.)
To serve, remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Spoon the sticky sauce over the chicken and enjoy warm.
NOTE: This method is interchangeable with whatever you like. Try it using a bone-in pork chop or chicken legs and thighs.
Let this sticky delicious delight shine as the center of the dinner plate by pairing it with a simple steamed green vegetable and some buttery mashed potatoes.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars like Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Paula Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest Tweets on twitter at @patrickwdecker or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com .