Cajun food makes me happy. Okay any food that I find delicious makes me happy but, when food triggers good feelings from past experiences, I get really happy.
Food memories, for me, are not always connected with a specific dish. Often just a combination of spices or flavors will remind me simply of a place or a time that has nothing to do with the dish I’m eating. When I eat any food that makes me think of New Orleans, I immediately think of my very first “fine dining” experience, at the Commander’s Palace. I was twelve years old and I realized then, as I ate Turtle Soup and shared Floating Island with my parents, that I was gonna like good food.
I don’t recall ever actually eating Bourbon Chicken in New Orleans, but everywhere I’ve had a version of it up north claims theirs is authentic. I can neither confirm nor deny any of those claims. I make mine with some of the flavors that make me think of that place and time – spicy and sweet with a kick.
Serves: 4 Total Time: 40 Minutes
• 2 Tablespoon Canola Oil
• 3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut in 1"x 1” chunks (about 1½ pounds)
• ½ Cup Onion, chopped
• ½ Cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
• 1 Teaspoon fresh Gingerroot, grated
• ¼ Cup Lower Sodium Soy Sauce
• ¼ Cup Orange juice
• ½ Cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
• ¼ Cup Jim Beam® Bourbon
• 1 Cup Brown Sugar
• 2 Teaspoons Cajun Seasoning
• 2 Tablespoons Corn Starch
• ½ Cup Water
• 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
• Zest of Orange
Step 1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add Canola Oil and cook Chicken in batches (none of the chicken chunks should touch) until just beginning to color. Remove chicken to a bowl to rest.
Step 2. Add Onion and Green Bell Pepper to pan and cook until soft.
Step 3. Reduce heat to low and stir in Ginger, Soy Sauce, Orange Juice, Chicken Stock and Bourbon. Allow to simmer for about 2 minutes.
Step 4. Add Brown Sugar and Cajun Seasoning, stirring to dissolve and incorporate throughout the pan, simmer for 2 - 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 5. Increase the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
Step 6. Return the Chicken, and any juices that have accumulated while resting, to the pan. Stir to cover with the sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until Chicken is completely heated through.
Step 7. Mix Corn Starch with ½ cup of water until it forms a runny paste, or slurry.
Step 8. Stir about 1 tablespoon of the Corn Starch slurry at a time into the simmering sauce until it thickens. Be careful as you add Corn Starch, don’t add too much at one time – stir each addition completely into the simmering sauce – it will continue to thicken as the Corn Starch cooks into the sauce. You may not use all of the slurry.
Step 9. When the sauce is thickened to your liking, stir in 1 tablespoon of Butter.
Step 10. Serve with white rice and garnish with the Orange Zest.
Tips and Trending
~ You can substitute another brand of bourbon for the Jim Beam®, but we won’t be held responsible for the finished dish.
~ If you like a spicier dish, add more Cajun Seasoning one teaspoon at a time. Cajun Seasoning contains salt, so be careful not to overdo it.
~ We usually make a simple green vegetable to accompany this dish, but something that can stand up to the bold flavors. Try Green Beans with Browned Butter and Pine Nuts.