On a rainy autumn day, nothing beats ducking into a pub with a pint of Guinness and a plate of Hunters Chicken with chips. This British Pub Grub classic ranks as my top choice. Dive into my recipe for this delectable comfort dish, featuring a homemade BBQ sauce enriched with fennel seeds. Preparing this recipe is a breeze, especially if you’re short on time. You can whip up the BBQ sauce in advance, or, if you’re really pressed, opt for a store-bought version.
- Distinct Taste: Homemade fennel BBQ sauce.
- Flexible Prep: Ready for any schedule, easy to scale up.
- Pub-at-Home: Impress with a Classic British dish.
“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”
Hunters Chicken: A British Pub Classic
What is Hunters Chicken?
Hunters Chicken is a cherished British dish, renowned for its flavourful combination of chicken breasts wrapped in bacon, drenched in BBQ sauce, and crowned with cheese. After baking or grilling, the dish reveals a bubbly, melted cheese layer. It’s not only a staple in many British households but also a popular choice in pubs across the UK, often served alongside chips or mashed potatoes for a hearty, satisfying meal.
Tracing its Roots: The History of British Hunters Chicken
While the precise beginnings of Hunters Chicken remain a bit elusive, there’s no denying its firm establishment in British pub culture over time. Given its rich and comforting attributes, it’s no surprise that this dish becomes a sought-after choice, particularly during the chillier seasons. The term “Hunters” perhaps suggests a meal perfect for rejuvenating someone after an exhaustive day.
Homemade BBQ Sauce: The Heart of Chicken & Bacon Dish
The allure of Hunters Chicken isn’t just in the tender chicken or the crispy bacon wrap; it’s significantly amplified by the rich, tangy, and sometimes smoky flavour of the BBQ sauce. While store-bought versions can be convenient, there’s an undeniable charm and depth in a homemade BBQ sauce that elevates the dish to new culinary heights.
A homemade BBQ sauce often combines ingredients like tomatoes, vinegar, brown sugar, and various spices. The balance of sweetness, acidity, and heat creates a symphony of flavors. By making it at home, you have the liberty to tweak the recipe to your liking, perhaps adding a touch more heat, a hint of smokiness with smoked paprika, or an extra dash of sweetness with honey or maple syrup.
Guide to Preparing Hunters Chicken
Hunters Chicken: British Pub Grub Recipe
Rate my Recipe 🙂
Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 Small Onion - finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves - minced
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil - (for sautéing)
- 1 tsp Chilli Flakes - (optional)
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 2 oz Dark Brown Sugar - (55g)
- 0.3 cups Dark Soy Sauce - (75ml)
- 1.2 cups Ketchup - (280ml)
- 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
Instructions for Homemade BBQ Sauce
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, red chilli, and fennel seeds. Cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in the dark brown sugar and let it caramelize slightly for about 1-2 minutes.
- Pour in the dark soy sauce, tomato ketchup, apple cider vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well.
- Season with smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes. This will allow the flavors to meld together.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Once done, remove from heat and let it cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
Instructions for Hunters Chicken
- In a mixing bowl, combine minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken breasts, ensuring they are thoroughly coated with the mixture. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, or preferably overnight. Before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature, approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F).
- Place sliced onion at the bottom of your baking dish.
- Take each chicken breast and wrap it with two bacon rashers or strips. Once wrapped, position them on top of the sliced onions in the baking dish.
- Transfer the dish to the preheated oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes. Ensure the chicken is fully cooked and no longer pink in the centre.
- After baking, remove the chicken from the oven. Evenly spoon your BBQ sauce over and around each chicken piece.
- Generously sprinkle mozzarella cheeses over the chicken.
- Switch the oven to the grill setting. Return the dish to the oven and grill for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Once done, serve the chicken hot, accompanied by chips or mashed potatoes plus veggies of your choice.
- Onion Layer: The sliced onions not only add flavour but also prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the dish. They’ll caramelize slightly during cooking, adding a sweet undertone.
- BBQ Sauce: While store-bought BBQ sauce can be used for convenience, a homemade version allows for customization of flavours.
- Grilling Caution: Keep a close eye on the dish during the grilling step to prevent the cheese from burning. The goal is a bubbly and slightly golden top.
- Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.
- Wine Pairing: A medium-bodied red wine, such as a Merlot or Shiraz, complements the rich flavours of this dish.
From the Chef
I trust you’ll relish this outstanding Hunters Chicken recipe! Did you customize the BBQ sauce to your taste? Or perhaps you paired it with a unique side dish? I’m eager to hear about your culinary adventures with this classic. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. And if you loved it, don’t hesitate to give it a star rating! Happy cooking!