Alternatively titled “THE ONLY CHICKEN RECIPE YOU WILL EVER NEED.”
Ahem, that is to say, holy buckets my friend you have got to try my Maple Bourbon Pecan Chicken, which is so good Ben wasn’t even mad I used some of his precious bourbon collection to test and tweak it to perfection! Maybe it’s because I didn’t tell him until after he shoveled an entire chicken thigh into his mouth whilst telling me how delicious it was?
Before we go any further, I have to recognize that this plate of lusciousness is sponsored by Fisher Nuts. I used their buttery pecans, which contain zero preservatives, in this comfort food dish whose taste screams “CALORIES!” but recipe contains zero butter, cream, what else am I missing…cheese? Bacon? Yeah, none of that. Look for Fisher’s new resealable packaging which helps keep their nuts fresher, longer on store shelves now.
Back to this sassy, sticky, delectable dish! Chicken thighs are seared in a skillet before it’s deglazed by a shot of bourbon. Don’t keep a bottle of bourbon in the house? No problem – I’ve got a hack for that. Next, the chicken thighs are nestled back into the skillet with a maple-dijon-cider vinegar pan sauce then simmered until tender with a sprinkling of chopped pecans. Totally foolproof. Literally I don’t think it’s possible to overcook chicken thighs – they just get more tender and juicy as they cook, and once drizzled with the thickened and syrupy sauce at the end? GET OUT.
Now, bourbon and pecans go together like pecans and maple syrup, which is to say the three of them combined in this dish are just heavenly. The bourbon flavor is more of a whisper then shout, and lends a subtle, caramel-y background note that I’d definitely miss if it were left out. All that said, this dish is not sweet – it’s got the perfect balance of flavors.
20 minutes, 1 skillet, pantry staples, absolutely incredible – make this tonight!
Start by adding 1/2 cup gluten-free flour to a shallow dish then generously season with salt and pepper. Dredge 1-1/4lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs in the seasoned flour then shake to remove any excess flour and place onto a plate.
Next get the sauce ready – in a bowl whisk together 1 cup chicken broth, 1/4 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves that have been chopped, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup,) 1 Tablespoon each dijon mustard and apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce,) and 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary that’s been crushed between your fingers.
(The white bits are just fat from homemade chicken stock floating throughout!)
Set the sauce aside then heat 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a 12″ cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs then sear until golden brown on one side, 1-2 minutes, and then flip and sear until golden brown on the other. The chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point. Remove the chicken to a plate then set aside.
Next, remove the skillet from the heat then add 2 Tablespoons bourbon. Two things:
- Be careful because the bourbon will bubble and evaporate almost immediately from the heat of the skillet, and if you have a gas range it might ignite briefly.
- If you don’t keep bourbon in the house – no worries! These tiny, 1(ish)-shot bottles are usually available behind the counter at the liquor or grocery store. So adorable, and so much easier than buying an entire bottle if you won’t drink it.
Like I said, the bourbon will evaporate almost immediately so add the maple sauce to the skillet then return it to the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Nestle the chicken thighs into the liquid then loosely cover the skillet with foil, turn the heat down to medium, then simmer until the sauce has thickened and the thighs are cooked through, 10 minutes.
I nestled my Maple Bourbon Pecan Chicken onto a pile of mashed potatoes then drizzled a few spoonfuls of the lip-smacking sauce on top. An arugula, parmesan, lemon and olive oil salad on the side rounded out this absolutely insane meal. I hope you love, love, LOVE it! Enjoy!
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Maple Bourbon Pecan Chicken
Maple Bourbon Pecan Chicken is sinfully delicious - you will lick your plate clean! This 1-skillet, gluten-free dinner recipe is ready in just 20 minutes.
- 1-1/4lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons bourbon (I used Maker's Mark)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup Fisher Naturals Pecan Halves, chopped
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using traditional soy sauce)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between your fingers
- Add flour to a shallow dish then season generously with salt and pepper. Dredge each chicken thigh in the seasoned flour then shake to remove excess and place onto a plate. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together chicken broth, maple syrup, chopped pecans, dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, gluten-free tamari, and dried rosemary then set aside.
- Heat extra virgin olive oil in a 12" cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken thighs then sear until golden brown on one side, 1-2 minutes, searing in batches if needed to avoid overcrowding the skillet. Flip then sear until golden brown on the other side, and then transfer back to the plate - chicken does not need to be cooked through at this point.
- Remove skillet from heat then carefully add the bourbon - most of it should evaporate very quickly (use caution if you have a gas range as the alcohol could flame briefly.) Return skillet to the heat then add the maple syrup mixture. Turn heat up to bring the liquid to a simmer then turn heat down to medium and nestle the chicken back into the skillet. Loosely cover the skillet with a piece of foil then simmer until the sauce has reduced and the chicken is cooked through, 10 minutes, flipping the thighs in the sauce once or twice.
- Plate chicken then scoop sauce over the top and serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.