I always enjoyed the bourbon chicken from the cajun restaurant in the mall I used to live near. Maybe it was the macaroni and cheese side dish, the sweet sauce on the chicken, or the delicious red beans and rice, but the pizza place next door rarely tempted me away from the bourbon chicken.
Lately, I've developed a love for Trader Joe's frozen orange chicken dish - it's as good as take-out, but less expensive. However, the battered and fried chicken pieces aren't doing me any nutritional favors. So when I ran across this bourbon chicken recipe, I thought I might modify it a bit to satisfy both a bourbon chicken and an orange chicken craving.
The resulting sauce has the fantastic tang of orange chicken, the sweetness of both dishes, and a richness all its own. I added cornstarch to make the sauce really thick, but if you like a thinner sauce feel free to omit it. We enjoyed this over rice with steamed broccoli and oven-roasted crispy potatoes (which I seem to be making at least once a week!).
Orange Bourbon Street-Inspired Chicken
This recipe is my take on a bourbon chicken recipe. The sauce is sweet and tangy, and does not contain any bourbon. Feel free to add some crushed red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper to this dish to make it spicy.
Yield: 4 servings
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
Zest of one orange
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
To serve: hot brown rice
1. Combine all ingredients except chicken and olive oil in a bowl and stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned.
3. Add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium/medium-low and simmer 15-20 minutes. You want the sauce to be coating the chicken pieces, rather than having the chicken swimming in the sauce.
4. Serve over hot rice.
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