Bourbon Chicken

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Although I was served this simple but beautifully flavored dish at a colleague’s home in Atlanta, it’s the sort of no-nonsense chicken preparation that might well appear in one guise or another on dinner tables in Kentucky and Tennessee, where so much of the South’s favorite spirit is produced. At various times, I’ve thrown pieces of okra, butter beans, or green peas into the skillet, with maybe a little more chicken broth. Once, I even altered the dish’s texture by adding about half a cup of chopped pecans. So, by all means, feel free to experiment, the way many Southern home cooks do.


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • One 3- to 3½-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ small green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream


In a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter and oil over moderate heat, add the chicken pieces, and brown on all sides. Add ¼ cup of the bourbon, carefully ignite with a match, and let burn till the flames die. Add the onion, bell pepper, thyme, rosemary, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring, till the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ¼ cup of bourbon and the chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer till the chicken is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and vegetables to a serving platter. Add the cream to the skillet, return the heat to moderate, and cook, stirring, till the gravy is thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes depending on desired consistency. Pour over the chicken and serve immediately.