Side Orders: Cinnamon whiskey gives chicken a flavor kick

Cinnamon Whiskey Chicken blends flavors of cinnamon, sriracha sauce, limes and honey.
photo Anne Braly

I've had a bottle of cinnamon whiskey in my collection of whiskeys for years. I don't know how I ended up with it. Maybe I got it as a novelty item for a party, or perhaps someone brought it and left it. Nevertheless, it's been in the house for several years and only recently made a move from the downstairs bar into the upstairs kitchen. I finally found a recipe in which I can use it: Cinnamon Whiskey Chicken.

If you're tired of the same skillet chicken dinners week after week, this recipe knocks the socks off of others. It brings a chicken breast to life with a zesty, spicy kick of cinnamon whiskey married with sriracha sauce and a touch of honey for sweetness.

Had I been making this dish for myself I would have used two full tablespoons of sriracha sauce. But in making it for my tender-palated family, I cut down on the amount of the spicy sriracha. When blended with the other sauce ingredients - honey, soy sauce and lime juice - it was perfect - slightly sweet, slightly spicy. It's got everything you want in a sauce to rev up the flavor of chicken

I served this with sticky rice, so I doubled the amount of ingredients for the sauce so that I could spoon some of it over the rice. Since the sauce had an Asian flair, I felt that sticky rice was the perfect side dish, along with a platter of egg rolls from my nearest Chinese restaurant.

As most seasoned cooks know, the alcohol burns off as it cooks, so if you're a teetotaler, no worries. This whiskey was made for eating.

Cinnamon Whiskey Chicken

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, flattened slightly with mallet

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons butter

3 garlic cloves, chopped

photo Cinnamon Whiskey Chicken blends flavors of cinnamon, sriracha sauce, limes and honey.

1/3 cup cinnamon whiskey

1/4 cup lime juice

2 tablespoons sriracha sauce, or to taste

2 tablespoons honey

1-2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 lime, cut into half moons

1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped, optional

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until golden, 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

In same skillet, melt butter. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute, then add cinnamon whiskey, lime juice, sriracha, honey and soy sauce. Stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Add limes, and return chicken to mixture. Simmer for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly, basting chicken with the sauce as it simmers. Garnish with chives before serving. Makes 4-5 servings.


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