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Cornbread-Topped Bourbon BBQ Chicken

Cornbread-Topped Bourbon BBQ Chicken


  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • 3-4 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 red onion, finely chopped

  • Salt and pepper

  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel, plus 1 tablespoon orange juice

  • 2 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs, coarsely chopped

  • 3/4 cup bourbon

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Two boxes corn muffin mix (8.5 ounces each), such as Jiffy, batter mixed according to package directions


Pre-heat the oven to 375°F. In a medium size saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO, one turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red onion and cook until tender, 4-5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste and smoked paprika and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, brown sugar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, orange peel and orange juice and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the barbecue sauce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO, two turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until golden brown on all sides, 6-8 minutes. Pour the barbecue sauce into the skillet and drizzle the bourbon on top. Remove the pan from the heat and light the alcohol with a match. Return the pan to the heat and cook until the flames subside.

Fold the scallions, add 1/2 cup cheese into the mixed cornbread batter. Spoon the mixture evenly over the barbecue chicken in the skillet. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese on top. Bake until the cornbread is golden-brown, about 30 minutes.