I’ve kiddingly said but maybe with some seriousness that I should do a Maple Bourbon Bacon cookbook. It all started when I cured my own Maple Bourbon Bacon a couple of years ago. Maple was a no-brainer but putting it in the oven to cook with some bourbon in the pan led to something so fantastic I was hooked. I’ve done Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam, Maple Bourbon Bacon Nuts and more so why not chicken? More appropriately, why have I not done this before now? This Maple Bourbon Chicken with Bacon brings together all the best of all of those parts. The sweetness of maple, the depth of flavor when combined with bourbon, the bacon, well it’s BACON and the last secret, just a bit of heat with some cayenne to not make this all sweetness and light. It is, in a word (or four) OMG Good!
I did find another recipe to use for inspiration; while I often search for similar recipes AFTER THE FACT, this time I was long on ideas but short on time and thought I had recalled seeing something a couple of years ago. Yep…and the recipe at Hungry Mouse was much what I wanted to do. I loved her technique to mix the chicken with spices first before flouring, assuring that ALL of the spices are used in coating the chicken; great idea. Also loved using bacon fat to cook the chicken; I’m glad to see people are over thinking bacon fat is bad. It is anything but…you want flavor, it’s got it in spades.
My biggest change was not using cloves. I couldn’t do it. There are few things I don’t like and over the years I’ve tried enough to give things another chance to just know when it’s a no go and for me one of those things is cloves. She used whiskey and I used Maker’s Mark bourbon; to many they are either the same or similar so you choose (nice article detailing the difference). I preferred to up the heat quotient a bit too and add a bit more cayenne pepper and everyone loved it so that’s my recipe. I used a bit more chicken too and there was plenty of sauce to go around. No way was a pound of chicken going to serve 4 people that I feed. Maybe two. 🙂
This dish is another I’ve made with friends that participate in the Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast. Be sure you take a peek after the recipe for their fabulous take on chicken; THE white (and dark!) meat.
- 6 strips thick-cut bacon
For the Chicken
- 1 & 1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1" chunks
- 1/2 tsp cayenne ( I used a tsp but only if you really like heat)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 4 tsp parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
- 3/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 cup flour
To Make the Sauce and Finish the Dish
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry it until it is crisp. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
- Reserve about 1/4 cup of the bacon fat in the pan for frying the chicken.
To Make the Chicken:
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces.
- Put the chicken into a large bowl.
- Mix the cayenne, garlic, white pepper, and parsley.
- Coat the chicken with the spices and then add the flour and mix enough to coat again.
- Set the pan with the bacon fat back on the stove over high heat. Get the bacon fat nice and hot. but not smoking.
- When the fat is hot, add your chicken to the pan. (To test, add one piece; it should sizzle)
- Let the chicken cook, untouched, for about 3 minutes until the edges start to become opaque.
- You want to create a gorgeous brown crust on the bottom.
- Flip each piece over and fry for about another 3 minutes.
To Finish the Dish:
- Pour the maple syrup over the chicken; it will bubble.
- Sprinkle with the cooked bacon.
- Toss the whole thing together to coat the chicken and bacon. Let cook on high heat for another 2 minutes.
- Pour the whiskey into the pan (have a lid handy in case it flares up; just cover with the lid).
- Let the whiskey bubble for a minute or two, then toss to combine everything.
- Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the maple syrup and whiskey have coated the chicken with the amazing sauce.
- Serve over white, buttered rice.
- Garnish with sliced green onion.
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