Monday, December 26, 2011

Bourbon Glazed Chicken Breasts and Peppermint Mocha Martinis

Are you smarter than a 4th grader?  Turns out that I'm not.

A couple of months ago, I was in Atlanta visiting my siblings and one night, my sister brought over some tests to grade while we hung out at our brother's house.  She teaches fourth grade.  The quiz was Social Studies and I helped her grade them.  And by "helped", I mean looked over her shoulder and indignantly deemed her the meanest teacher of all time.  She marked some poor kid's answer wrong because the "T" in Tennessee looked like it MIGHT not have been capitalized!  Then I took the test and was REALLY glad she's not my teacher.  Because she's mean AND her tests are super hard. 

I'm not really sure how it came about, but at some point, we decided that instead of playing a family game of Wii bowling or cards at Christmas, this year, we would play "Are You Smarter Than A Fourth Grader?".  We would print out tests from my sister's class and everyone would take them to be graded by the mean teacher (who wasn't allowed to participate because that wouldn't be fair).  Whoever won would have bragging rights and whoever lost would be mocked and ridiculed for years to come.

The subjects were Social Studies, Science (specifically related to the moon and its phases), and analogies.  We all got a test and a pen (and a cocktail, of course...this isn't the lame kind of fourth grade) and got to work.  Grammar and spelling count, show your work, and no talking during the test.  It was intense.  Did you know that Amarillo was NOT the capital of Texas?  Or that half the moon is always dark?  And that there is something called the Gibbous phase in the lunar cycle (or something like that)?  Or that the order of the words in analogies count (of course everyone knows that, except, evidently, my brother)?  Or that the Louisiana Purchase wasn't purchased from Spain??

I'll go on the record by saying that the test was totally unfair!  Because its been a long time since I was in the fourth grade and since I was a business major in college, I didn't have to take classes like Science and Social Studies. in last.  I think I got a C.  My brother and my Dad tied for first, and neither was happy to not have that spot all to themselves.  There was a lot of yelling and heckling the teacher and desperate attempts at convincing her to give up another half a point here and there. 

I still think I'm smarter than the rest of my family, though.  I did, after all, get the Physics Award junior year in high school.  And I kicked all their sorry butts at Wii bowling the next night.

ANYWAY, I made this chicken last week when we had some friends over.  You always know its a success when their plates are clean 5 minutes after sitting down for dinner.  Or maybe they just hadn't eaten in days.  Who knows.

The chicken was super moist and had the perfect amount of spice vs. sweetness.  I don't usually love chicken on the bone, but it was a must for this one.  Skin, too.  I served it with truffle roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  And peppermint mocha martinis, of course.  Yum!

Roasted Bourbon Glazed Chicken Breasts
Source: How Sweet It Is

4 large, bone-in split chicken breasts (skin on)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups bourbon
1 1/4 cups brown sugar (I used 1/2 regular brown sugar, 1/2 Splenda brown sugar)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon ground mustard
sage, if desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

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.

In a bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, chipotle powder, 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 an oven-safe baking dish. Pour half of the glaze overtop of chicken, add sage leaves on top if desired, then roast for 30 minutes. Half way through cooking, brush chicken with a bit more glaze.

When chicken is finished, remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with additional glaze for topping.

Peppermint Mocha Martinis
Source: Adapted from Pink Parsley

2 oz. Peppermint Mocha Kahlua
2 oz. Whipped Cream flavored Pinnacle vodka
1 oz. skim milk

Add ice cubes to a martini shaker.  Add Kahlua, vodka, and milk to the shaker and shake well.  Pour through strainer into martini glasses (making sure the ice stays in the shaker and not in your glass).  Garnish with mini candy canes, and enjoy!

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