The first time I had Bourbon Chicken was in Denver at a little hole in the wall shack called the Bourbon Grill. As you drive by, you can see the smoke billowing out of the chimney and the line forming down the block. You order from a tiny slide window, and get your Styrofoam takeout box full of this tasty chicken, rice, and a side or two. The roots of Bourbon Chicken are a bit conflicting. Some say it is traditionally Cajun and originates from Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Others say it has more of an Asian background, as it appears on Chinese takeout menus throughout the US. In terms of flavor, everyone can agree, that dark meat chicken combined with a sticky, sweet sauce, complimented by fluffy white rice, is a match made in heaven. This dish is a keeper, and the rice is key. It adds texture, and is the perfect sponge to soak up the all that wonderful sauce. I chose to keep it simple and paired mine with Della’s White Basmati rice. YUM!
The best part of this recipe? The hands on time is about 5 min. No kidding. All you need to do is combine the sauce, chop the ginger and garlic, and voila, you are 75% done. That’s pretty great, huh? Next, pop the chicken into the oven, and cook the rice. That’s it! The ease of this dish makes for a great weeknight meal in a time crunch, for large group, or a big family. The taste is, quite literally, finger licking good!
2 cups Della Basmati rice, cooked as directed
1 ½ lb. skin on, bone in chicken drumsticks*
½ cup low sodium soy sauce
¼ cup oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup bourbon
¼ cup brown sugar
1 inch piece fresh ginger, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
Garnish: chopped green onions, a squeeze of lime
Optional Side: steamed asparagus or broccoli
* Note: You can also use bone in, skin on thighs. Many recipes I read call for boneless, skinless chicken, but I opted for bone in, skin on because it’s more flavorful. I think this dish would also work with chicken breasts if you’d prefer a leaner option.
- For the sauce, mix together the soy sauce, oil, vinegar, bourbon, and brown sugar in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Place the chicken in a casserole dish and pour the sauce over the chicken. Sprinkle the chopped garlic and ginger over the chicken. Cover and marinate overnight. (This is ideal but if you don’t have the time marinating for at least an hour also works)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover the chicken and bake directly in the marinade for 45 minutes. Turning and basting the chicken with the sauce every 15 min. Cook the rice according to package directions.
- Once the chicken is done, turn the oven temperature to broil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes to get a golden browning and crispy skin. Remove and serve. I like to pour the sauce into a measuring cup with a pour spout and add extra once you serve it over the rice. Top with scallions, a squeeze of fresh lime, and serve with steamed asparagus or broccoli! ENJOY!