Parents know that cooking for young kids can be a pain. Non-parents: now you know.
Shan and I try to keep the boys out of a chicken finger or mac n’ cheese routine, but shuffling new dishes into the rotation can be a challenge. Expanding the palette — and palate — is a cyclone of experimentation, frustration, bewilderment, smashing successes, and shoulder-slumping rejections that end up as a second dinner for Mom and Dad.
Sometimes, we fight the fight and insist: “well, this is what’s for dinner, so if you don’t want to eat, you’ll be suuuper hungry in the mor-niiing.”
Sometimes, we pull a corn dog out of the freezer.
This food court staple is a simple, inexpensive, delicious dish with a touch of sweetness that appeals to young taste buds. And mine, too.
And from experience, I can personally guarantee that at least half of your kids will LOVE this dish. The other half will have already decided they don’t like it before trying it and never, not EVER, re-consider. More for Mom and Dad.
- 6 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and skin removed
- Olive oil, to sauté
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- ¼ cup of apple juice
- ⅓ cup of brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup of water
- ⅓ cup of soy sauce
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. (I almost wrote "chunks" there, but it sounded kinda gross.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high and coat the bottom with olive oil -- prolly about 4 tablespoons. Meanwhile...
- Add the garlic, juice, sugar, hoisin, sesame oil, vinegar, water, soy sauce, pepper, and cornstarch to a medium-sized mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar and starch dissolve.
- When the pan starts to smoke a little, it's showtime. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned and just cooked through. Give it a stir every once in a while to make sure both sides are getting love. Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to do this in two batches: if the chicken doesn't have room to breathe, it won't brown. This will take about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Drain any excess liquid.
- Add the glaze mixture to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and stir to coat the chicken. Let this reduce to sticky sweet loveliness, mixing every couple of minutes to make sure the glaze doesn't just burn to the sides of the pan.
- In 10 or 15 minutes, you shouldn't be seeing any big pools of liquid. If you do, keep reducing. If not, you're all set!
- Serve with rice or yakisoba noodles. Enjoy!
If this Bourbon Chicken were a song, it would be…
Photos by Shannon Taylor