Thursday, May 14, 2009


Bourbon Orange Skillet BBQ Chicken with Cornbread Topper
Rachael Ray's Big Orange Skillet Copyright 2008

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 large red onion, finely chopped I used sweet, white onion
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons hot sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice of 2 large oranges and 1 tablespoon zest, divided I only used the juice of one very large orange
3 cups chicken stock (use much less - see my post below)
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast and thighs, cut into large chunks
1/4 cup bourbon
2 box cornbread mix, such as Jiffy
2/3 cup milk (per cornbread package directions)
2 eggs (per cornbread package directions)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place a medium-size sauce pot over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the garlic and onion to the pan, and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes.

Season the veggies with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and add the tomato paste and smoked paprika to the pot. Cook the tomato paste until caramelized and fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add Worcestershire, hot sauce, brown sugar, orange juice and chicken stock to the pan. Bring everything up to a bubble then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, place a large, cast iron or other ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until golden brown on all sides, 5-6 minutes.

When the chicken is golden brown, pour the thickened barbecue sauce into the skillet. Add the orange zest and the bourbon, but don't stir it in. Remove the pan from the heat and, very carefully, flame the alcohol using a match or barbecue lighter. Return the pan to the heat and allow the alcohol to cook out of the bourbon – it's ready when the flames die away. Remove the skillet from the heat and reserve on a heat-safe surface while you prepare the cornbread.

I browned the chicken first, then I took it out of the pan and made the sauce, later adding the chicken back in and then I transferred the sauce and meat into two casserole dishes. I don't have a cast iron skillet.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, prepare the cornbread mix with the amount of milk and eggs the package directions call for. Fold in the scallions and 1/2 cup cheese into the cornbread batter and spoon it evenly over the top of the barbecue chicken. Sprinkle the rest of the shredded cheese over the cornbread and transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake until the cornbread is golden brown and baked through, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serves 6. 6! Three pounds of chicken serves only 6? I made two casseroles out of this one recipe.

Ah, Rachael Ray. I have such a mental block when it comes to her recipes. I see this big long list of ingredients and I get scared. I think she got into this business by coming up with recipes in order to get grocery store customers to buy more groceries and I can believe that.

But I've watched her cook enough times that deep down I know that her recipes aren't that complicated and I need to get past that initial impression. I had everything on hand to make this recipe except the tomato paste and the corn bread mix (and actually, if I dug in my freezer I probably had the tomato paste too.)

I had some trouble. The sauce was way too thin and required a lot longer cooking time than she called for in order for it to thicken up and it never really did get thick.

I certainly didn't want to type this recipe so I tracked it down online where I found some discrepancies that might explain the soupiness. The Rachael Ray Show website list the same recipe as the book with the exception of the beef (it states 2 1/2 pounds instead of 3), the broth (it states 1 1/2 to 2 cups) , the bourbon (it says 1/3 cup instead of 1/4 cup) and hot sauce (it says 2 to 4 instead of just 3 tablespoons.)

The Official Rachael Ray website says 1 1/2 cups of broth, 2 1/2 pounds of chicken and 3/4(!) cups of bourbon.

One of those websites has step-by-step pictures and the sauce is THICK in the picture. I would definitely cut back on the broth if you try this.

So normally that frustration might have turned me off to a cookbook but RR gets a pass on this because I loved the results anyway. Since I had to do my cooking on Saturday this week I froze the casseroles and pulled one out later to thaw and bake. It wasn't too soupy since the liquid soaked up some of the cornbread. The flavor was excellent. I think it helped that I didn't eat this right away and the chicken meat really soaked up the flavor of the sauce. I almost used all thigh meat but the chicken breast was better than I thought it would be so I think you could go all white meat if that's your thing but I do love dark meat in recipes like this.

There was still a crisp layer of cornbread on top (I was worried about how this would freeze). I do love cornbread so that might have a lot to do with my love of this recipe. I can't wait to eat the other one that's still in the freezer.

Of all the Rachael Ray books I either own or have checked out of the library, this is my favorite. I prefer the layout of this book. It doesn't stick to her 30-minute schtick so the variety is better than usual. The recipes just appeal to me more.

Question of the Day: Do you have any Rachael Ray cookbooks? Any favorite Rachael Ray recipes?


MommyProf said...

I have several books . I like her creamy tomato soup recipe, although I use fat-free half and half and buy the pesto. It's lickety quick that way and SO much better than tomato soup in a can.

Her spicy shrimp burgers are also good, if you like shrimp:

CRS said...

I have purchased/been given several of her books, but I believe I have passed almost all of them on. The reason is that not only was I also daunted by the huge ingredient list (what else am I going to use this stupid container of Montreal seasoning for??), but also we really weren't blown over by her recipes AND they can ALL be found on the food network's website!
I did find a ham soup (from ham leftovers) in her magazine that was REALLY easy and good!

Anonymous said...

I made this once and we liked it. I cut out the cheese because I need to cut it where I feel I can. Rach uses an awful lot of cheese. I love cheese but not all the calories. She does have some Keepers though.

I also don't own any of her books. I print them off and mess them up. LOL.

Donna-FFW said...

Hi! Just found your blog. I LOVE it.. Your chocices of recipes are similar to my liking.I do enjoy RR recipes.. this looks yummy.

Some of my faves of hers are Stove-Top stuffed peppers, Philly Steak Burritos, and sausage, peppers and potatoes.. all on my blog, plus others of hers.

Nice to meet you.

Anonymous said...

No, just admire from afar.