Smothered Chicken, Hunters Chicken, Hickory Chicken, BBQ Chicken… I don’t think I’ve seen a pub dish with as many different names as this one.
Whatever the name the ingredients tend to be the same. A chicken breast wrapped in bacon, topped with cheese and smothered (hence the name) in BBQ sauce. It’s something I used to order a lot when I was younger as I love the slightly sweet and sticky indulgence of the meal. I rarely order it now although it’s still quite often on a pub restaurant menu, preferring to go for some thing different but when I do order it I’m quite often disappointed. Disappointed by slightly anaemic bacon, a sauce which isn’t quite what I want it to be, a barely there topping of a cheese which doesn’t really taste of anything at all.
So what do you do when you fancy something and want it to taste a particular way. Well you make it yourself.
First up I think it’s important to choose your ingredients wisely. The sauce is so important. Too sweet and it’s hard to eat it all. Too bitter and you don’t want to eat it at all. We try different BBQ sauces all the time and occasionally we even make our own. For this meal I chose a BBQ sauce we picked up in TKMaxx – yep TKMaxx. They have an aisle or two of food bits, normally sauces and oils – you won’t normally find the same product twice but it’s an exciting way to try new things. This sauce was a bit fiery but oh so good. I wish I could remember the name but I can’t and it’s all gone but for a similar taste you could use the Nandos Peri Peri BBQ sauce and for something sweeter the Jack Daniels BBQ is pretty good too.
For the cheese we used an extra mature cheddar – yes it’s harder to grate than a rubbery basic mild but the flavour is what it’s all about.
The chicken – we use thighs (boneless & skinless) instead of breasts and for the bacon – it has to be smoked, streaky if possible but definitely smoked.
You will need:
5 chicken thighs ( boneless & skinless )
6 rashers of bacon
200g of strong mature cheddar (grated)
300ml of BBQ sauce
Pour approx 75ml of BBQ sauce into a baking dish, place your chicken on top and then add a further 75ml over the top. Now drape your bacon rashers over the top of the chicken and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Pour over remaining sauce and sprinkle your cheese over and bake for a further 10 minutes.
* your sauce will be a little oily due to the cheese, drain away or skim if you prefer.
Serve immediately with homemade chips and a fresh green salad or with rice and veg.
IF you have any leftover this makes a really good sandwich filling ( when roughly chopped ) for the next days lunch.
We really enjoyed this at home pub grub and will definitely make it again soon.