For the chicken:
3 pounds chicken breasts - (boneless and skinless, chopped into 1-inch pieces)
4 tablespoons cornstarch - (plus ½ - 1 tablespoon extra, see notes)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sesame oil - or use olive oil
For the sauce:
4 cloves garlic - minced
1 cup chicken broth - (use low-sodium if you prefer less salt)
⅔ cup soy sauce - (use low-sodium if you prefer less salt)
⅓ cup apple juice
⅓ cup ketchup
¼ cup bourbon - see notes for a kid-friendly version
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar - or less, to taste
1/2 cup brown sugar - Splenda brand or Sweve dark or light
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes - optional, or use more for a spicy sauce!
In a medium bowl, mix together 4 tablespoons of cornstarch with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the diced chicken and toss well to completely coat the chicken pieces.
In a large skillet or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the coated chicken pieces and cook on one side without stirring for 3 minutes. Turn each piece of chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes. The chicken does not have to be fully cooked here, just browned. Remove the browned cooked chicken from the skillet and set aside. You might need to do this in two batches to not crowd the chicken!
Add the minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients (chicken broth through red pepper flakes). Stir well and bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low and add the chicken back to the sauce. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced by half. Serve the bourbon chicken hot over steamed rice, or go on to the next step if you prefer to thicken the sauce.
Optional step: Combine ½ - 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl or cup, then stir into the sauce to thicken, let it simmer for another 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
If you prefer a thicker, stickier sauce that really sticks to the chicken, you will need about ½ - 1 tablespoon extra cornstarch - just follow the instructions in the last step!
If you want a sweeter, less tangy bourbon chicken, use 1 tablespoon vinegar at first, and add more to taste later.
For a kid-friendly bourbon chicken, omit the bourbon, or add more chicken broth or apple juice instead.
This recipe has a lot of ingredients but you can get away with just a ¼ cup and a ½ cup measuring cup and measure all the ingredients into those cups! You can pre-measure all the ingredients for the sauce into a large bowl and add it all at once in step 3!
The nutrition facts are estimated assuming 8 servings and not including rice.