Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stuff Happens

Ever have one of those days? Early this morning the Fedex man rang the doorbell. It was a drop-and-dash kind of delivery. Daddy-O brought the big box inside. I wasn't expecting anything, but thought maybe it was a surprise!

It was a surprise all right. It wasn't mine. The box had been delivered to the wrong address—wrong as in wrong town and wrong zip code. So I spent the next part of the morning calling to get that reported and a pick up arranged—voice-activated system, then a real person, and lots of reading off long numbers to the nice man. There's a poor lady somewhere wondering why she doesn't have her order when the tracking shows "left at the door."

After lunch, we stopped to get gas and the credit card didn't work. Got home to find a message on the answering machine to call the credit card company. They had locked the card because of a "potential fraud use." The only charge in question was the attempt at the gas station---the same gas station we use once a week with the same card we always use. I made another round of the "please press 2 if..." kind of maze to get the card unlocked. All is fine now.

So I'm not cooking supper. Something from the freezer will do. At the rate I'm going, the oven would not heat. Or it would blow up. I really don't want to work through another set of phone button-pressing menus to call a repair man.

That means it's a good time to share another recipe from our Saturday night feast. Nothing that Jessica cooked was particularly difficult or time consuming, but we stayed in the kitchen all afternoon because she cooked so many things at one time!

Try this chicken with a couple of easy sides and your family will love you. Your house will smell divine. The combination of the glaze and the dry rub and the fresh sage creates an aroma that is incredible. Really.


4 large, bone-in split chicken breasts (about 4.5-5 lbs.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon olive oil

1-1/2 cups bourbon*
1-1/4 cups brown sugar**
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground mustard (dry)
fresh sage leaves, if desired (Don't skip this! It's a big part of why it's so good.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.*** (see notes at bottom of recipe!!!)

Combine the bourbon, sugar, mustard, garlic, honey, vinegar and worcestershire in a small saucepan and whisk. Heat over high heat and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until mixture reduces by about half. Set aside and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the chicken. The glaze will thicken a bit at this time.

In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Season chicken breasts on both sides with mixture, then place skin-side down in the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown, then flip and repeat on the other side. 

When finished, add chicken to a 9x13-inch baking pan. Pour half of the glaze over the top of the chicken, add sage leaves on top if desired, then bake for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Halfway through cooking, brush with a little more glaze. 

Serve with additional glaze. (And eating the crispy sage was a treat. Don't pick it off and lay it aside.)

Jessica's notes:
*I used the black cherry bourbon my parents had on hand—it’s extra sweet and they’ve been trying to use it up when a recipe calls for bourbon.
**Since the bourbon was extra sweet, I only added half a cup of brown sugar.
***The chicken breasts were so large, I was skeptical of the cooking temperature and time. I baked mine at 350 for an hour (or until the internal temp is around 170). We cranked the oven up to 425 for the last 5-10 minutes to crisp up the sage and skin.

The recipe above is as Jessica found it online. And then she included her notes of how she cooked it. If I did it again (and I will) I'll do it the way she did it. Sometimes you just need to trust your own instincts.

I want to end this blog post on a positive note, so let me say that voice-recognition systems work better than they used to. The real person I talked to at FedEx was really nice and helpful. And when today's mail came, I had two hand-written thank you notes in the stack. Good stuff happens, too.

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