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Saturday, 20 December 2014

Chicken Tenders with Jim Beam

Say what you will about Iceland in general, they do manage to get some quite interesting exclusive products. I haven't visited my local store in ages but, in the run-up to Christmas, with their ramped-up advertising (always hindered by the obligatory b-list 'celeb' - currently Peter Andre - intended, no doubt, to add some form of glamour to the proceedings) my girlfriend and I decided to pop over for some freezable Christmas foodstuffs, so we wouldn't have to worry so much about shopping for fresh stuff - or doing proper cooking - this weekend and over the Christmas period. What with visiting both sides of the family while I'm away from work, I think we've got things planned out pretty well - including an original (yet wholly predictable) take on our Chrimbletide dinner.

While perusing the selection at Iceland, I noticed almost an entire freezer cabinet devoted to boxes featuring the Jim Beam logo and, while I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of bourbon - if I'm going to drink whiskey, I tend to prefer the Scottish kind - my previous encounter with a bourbon sauce was exceedingly pleasant. I didn't immediately pick up a box of these tenders because they didn't really fit with my Christmas plans and my freezer space is very limited. Picking them up was more of a "what the hell, why not?" moment, since I occasionally need a meaty accompaniment to one of the vegetarian dishes my girlfriend cooks.

I'd have to say that the breaded chicken is nothing to write home about - this ain't no KFC-style herb and spice fest - and the 380g box contains only seven or eight of them. They're a decent size, but the packaging's claim that it serves two is either very optimistic, or assuming use as a starter or as part of a larger main course.

Or maybe I'm still recovering from American portions, following my recent holiday in Los Angeles..?

The Jim Beam sauce is the only thing that raises this package anywhere above 'decidedly plain', and it raises it a hell of a way. The moment the sauce sachet is opened, you'll get a whiff of the boozy barbecue sauce and, if that's the sort of thing you like, this is sure to be a winner. It brings that familiar warming sensation from the first scent, yet retains the classic spicy, smoky fruitiness of a good barbecue sauce. In that sense, it's probably a good thing that the chicken is so plain, since strongly seasoned meat/breadcrumb would get in the way of the sauce.

I poured the sauce all over my chicken tenders but, upon reflection, suspect I may have been better off decanting the sauce into a pot - as illustrated by the packaging - and simply dipping the tenders. Thinking back to my holiday, one of the meals which defeated me was a plate stacked high with chicken tenders, which was served with (if I remember correctly) mashed potato and corn succotash... that sort of thing would go very well with this product, so I may be tempted to pick up another box once the freezer has cleared out a bit after Christmas.

There are a few other items in the range which look appealing - the ribs in particular, though if I do end up trying them, I fully expect it to be due to a triumph of optimism over experience. Watch this space.

On the other hand, since Jim Beam produce barbecue sauces separately, maybe I'll just get some of that...

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