Sweet and Cowher Chicken

The credit for this recipe concept (and name) goes to my friend, Ant. Thanks, dude! More on Ant in a bit, but first, let's talk Monday Night Football. A Monday Night Steelers Game is an excuse to wear my team colors in the office and give my colleagues Emmanuel Sanderswich Cookies

Game Bites
Week 2 - Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati 

After going 0-4 in preseason and losing Pouncey, Foote, Stephens-Howling and ultimately, the game in the home opener, the Steelers really needed a W here. Spoiler alert, it didn't go well. I'm very close to cutting these game recaps - thoughts? At any rate, here's what happened on Monday Night Football:

First Quarter: Been dreading this - Harrison in black and orange, looking furious and stoic as ever.

Gruden is already at it with "RoeTHELSburger this, RoeTHELSburger that."

Second possession, Brown with a sweet 40 yard punt return.

As usual, my man, Shaun Suisham makes 44-yd attempt for first points. 3-0, PIT.

Ding dang that coffin corner, Steelers get the ball back at their own 2 yard line.

Paulson big 1st down! But, wait... Bungles challenge ruling... play ruled down by contact. Feh. CIN ball on their own 13 yard line.

A 61 yard play by some dingus on the Bungles - aaand, they run it in for a TD. 7-3, CIN. 

Second Quarter: What in God's name was that chili dumped onto the camera after the commercial break? NOT appetizing.

Nice play by Jarvis Jones, Bungles lose a yard.

Another tackle by #95, now 3rd and 4 - followed by Sanu first down.

Pass KNOCKED DOWN by Polamalu. Then he kicked at it. Nice.

In the words of Jim Shearer, "Lamarr Could He? Lamarr Woodley" for the tackle at the line of scrimmage.

Pass complete to Sanders for 9 yard gain, then Felix Jones runs for the extra yard.

Antonio Brown picks up the first down with a 15 yard gain! But, ya know, ultimately Zoltan Mesko punts it away.

Steelers get the ball back after a quick three and out, and begin chipping away at a new set of downs one yard at a time...


Phew! Incomplete pass attempt to Sanu in the last seconds of the half - knocked down by "I Like" Ike Taylor.

Score at the half: 10-10

Third Quarter: Steelers' D holds the Bungles on first drive, Lamarr Woodley lookin' good.

Big Ben gets out of trouble and Brown gets 33 yard gain, but... Gilbert gets called for tripping?? This, the first penalty called on PIT, is very questionable. 3rd and 20.

Ben scrambles like a maniac and gets pulled down. 4th and 31.

Flag down on the punt - holding on CIN. Refs feeling guilty about that "tripping" call? 

Bungles driving down the field again - Domata Peko is terrifying.

Woodley makes an awesome hit on Dalton, but Gresham gets first down.

Gio Bernard TD on the next play. Downward spiral continues - 17-10, CIN.

John Gruden begins morphing into Hank Hill, "I'll tell you whuat."

Fourth Quarter: As with every Steeler game so far in 2013, I have trouble watching the fourth quarter. 

Offsides call on Woodley and the Steelers cough up a Bungle first and goal.

Gruden ♥'s Ike Taylor. 

Brett Keisel with the second deflected pass of the game. The Steelers' D hold CIN to a FG, giving the Black and Gold a slim, but fighting chance. 20-10, CIN.

Gain of 20, first down by Cotchery (autocorrect wants to do all sorts of terrible things to his name). Then, another first down for Cotchery into Bungles' territory. A first down by Paulson, not quite making up for the first quarter fumble and then, just in the nick of time - CIN intercepts.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Fighting and flags - personal foul on Woodley. 

Game is pretty much over at the two minute warning...

Final Score: 20-10, CIN

So, as I was saying, the Sweet and Cowher Chicken was my friend, Ant's idea. Ant makes music videos. In fact, he recently worked on a video that has been receiving a bit of attention out there in social media land. Yinz seen this yet?

Who's that at 0:38 seconds? It can't be... is it?...

Coach Cowher!!! Well, how about that?

There he is again with $Bill and my brothers, Josh and Ben at training camp! I apologize for the blurry shot, the photo was taken about 12 years ago - back before all three of my "little" brothers grew much taller than me. 

Cowher was the Steelers' head coach for the majority of my childhood, from 1992-2006, leading the team to six AFC Championship games (two of those, victories) and one Super Bowl win at the end of the 2005 season. He was one heckuva coach with a killer mustache to boot, and when he was pissed, he made sure everyone knew it.

The Sweet and Cowher Chicken is a little labor-intensive, but relatively easy and SO, SO GOOD. I used a recipe from Pittsburgh's-own Brown-Eyed Baker and added a few things (stir-fried peppers and onions, cayenne and crushed red pepper flakes). The addition of cayenne and pepper flakes makes this a little more "General Cowher's" (or "Coach Tso's"?) than Sweet and Cowher, but you can omit the spice if you're not a fan. Cowher wasn't exactly "sweet" on the sidelines, so I thought I might as well make it a little mean. 

Sweet and Cowher Chicken
Recipe adapted from Brown-Eyed Baker

For the chicken
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloin, cut into 1 inch chunks
3/4 cup corn starch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup rice vinegar
4 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

For the veggies
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

2-4 cups rice, cooked

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat vegetable oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season the cut chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Dredge in corn starch followed by egg, then drop into oil. Cook chicken in small batches (about 15 at a time)  for about 5 minutes per side until golden-brown. Remove from sauté pan and place in casserole dish. Repeat with remaining chicken. 

Combine sauce ingredients in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisking together. Simmer for about 5 minutes, then pour over chicken in casserole dish. Bake chicken in sauce for 1 hour, flipping chicken with spatula every 15 minutes.

At about the 30 minute mark, begin to prepare the vegetables by heating sesame oil in wok or clean sauté pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until fragrant. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes before adding peppers. Cook and stir in oil over medium heat until the chicken is finished.

Remove casserole dish from oven and stir vegetables into the dish, coating everything with sauce. Serve over rice. 

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