This chicken dish has been around the block a few times I know but it is so worth revisiting. Many Oriental restaurants feature Bourbon Chicken, which is strange since one, bourbon, as we know it is not a manifestation of Oriental cooking and two, the many recipes prepared in this manner do not contain bourbon. You see, the name Bourbon comes from the royal family of King Louis of France and the name’s heredity is present in Kentucky and Louisiana. Bourbon County in Kentucky, named for the royal family is where many of the world’s best bourbons are made, like my favorite, Jim Beam.
Interesting also is how King Louis left his namesake in New Orleans. My understanding is when he received the plans for the French Quarter laid out in a grid fashion; he went about assigning street names. He labeled the main street Bourbon for his family and then Royal, Burgundy, so forth. He then named the cross streets for his children: Toulouse, Dumaine, Orleans, Conti, and so forth. However, since his children fought all the time, King Louis separated his kids with saints. By placing a saint between each of his kids, he could not only keep peace but sleep a bit better too.
There are many variations for Bourbon chicken like the bourbon-less Oriental. However, for the sake of King Louis legacy, I personally think alcohol should be a serious part of this dish. Enjoy!
Southern Bourbon Chicken
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 cup Jim Beam bourbon
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Place chicken single layered in a non-reactive pan and pour marinade over the breasts. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake chicken for about 45 minutes or until done.
Serve over a bed of hot rice. Chicken fillets are also great cooked on the grill.