Chick-a Cherry Cola

by Sarah on August 2, 2011 · 18 comments

Sometimes I hang out it my room and listen to songs from middle school, amazing myself with not only my ability to rock out so hard to synthetic pop beats from the 90s, but also with my knack for remembering all the lyrics to even the most complicated or seemingly random tunes. One such example? Savage Garden’s “I Want You.”*
*Others include Lauryn Hill’s “That Thing,” Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” and “Mo Money Mo Problems” featuring a number of hip hop artists, including Diddy, back when he was a Daddy of Puff.

Want to test yourself? Visit youtube for a little “remember when they actually played videos on MTV although this was probably more often played on VH1″ nostalgia.”

You might not remember much, but I’m willing to bet everyone will shout out “CHICK-A CHERRY COLA!” in unison as the one phrase that we can all agree on.
But maybe, just maybe, during this telepathic sing-a-long, someone gets confused, and awkwardly screams out the wrong words. [You know there's ALWAYS someone.] And instead of “Chick-a Cherry Cola” [which doesn't make sense anyway] he [because it's always a he, isn't it?] screams, “CHICKEN Cherry Cola!”Well, perhaps you, as I would do, will get inspired to take this idea of “chicken cherry cola” and make…well….Cherry Cola Chicken.In the lore of my family’s food history, there is one dish that was always spoken of as being the best one to feed a crowd. And feed a crowd it did, on many occasions, especially the annual Easter Egg Hunt at MawMaw and PawPaw’s house in Georgia. This dish was Coca-Cola Chicken. [I've made it on the blog before...but I'm still not giving away the exact recipe!] So, well, with cherries being on sale so frequently right now…I got to thinking: what if I made CHERRY Cola Chicken?“What if” indeed. Turns out this was one of the best (and weirdest?) ideas I’ve had in a long time. It’s easy, really. For a half-pound of chicken, slice up half of an onion (about 1 cup). Salt, pepper, and chili powder the chicken–I used tenders, because they were cheap that week, but you can use sliced boneless breasts–and put into a pan with a lil’ olive oil or cooking spray.
Let the chicken start to brown and the onions to soften…about 4 minutes or less. Then pour in 12 oz. of Cherry Coke (or Coke Zero).What goes great with both cherries AND Coke? Well, limes of course!Squeeze the juice of a lime over the chicken, and pour in about 1/2 cup of chopped cherries.As our goal here—which I probably should have told you, just in case you couldn’t tell from the photo above—is to make a BBQ-style sauce based on a Cherry Coke reduction of sorts. To that end, you’ve got to give the whole mess a little ‘heft’ by adding a can of tomato sauce.
You will probably overflow the pan if you haven’t thought this through carefully. So think this through carefully.
Sprinkle on some salt, pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flakes (if you want them), and try not to worry about the massive amount of liquid in the pan.
Leave the whole thing uncovered and bring it up to a simmer…because through the magical powders of heat and evaporation…
…slowly but surely (over the course of about an hour or so), the liquid will reduce into a sauce.
A very yummy, sweet-and-spicy (if you used red pepper flakes) sauce.
A sauce so good you’ll pretty much want to ignore the chicken and just take spoonfuls of IT.
So good…that even the over-reduced, super-thick bits on the edge will need to be scraped up with some veggies after you’ve removed all the chicken from the pan.*
*Fine. This will probably only happen if you’re crazy like me.Make sure to serve it with something to sop up the sauce…might I suggest a delicious pairing of Sweet Potato Straw?Cherry Cola Chicken. Who knew? Well, I guess Savage Garden did. Kind of.

Oooh I want you, I don’t know if I need you…but oooh I’d die to find out.
—————-
Cherry Cola Chicken

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken tenders, or breasts, sliced
1 cup sliced sweet onion
12 oz. Cherry Coke (or Cherry Coke Zero)
Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tablespoons)
1/2 cup chopped, pitted cherries
1 15-oz. can of tomato sauce
salt
pepper
chili powder
red pepper flakes

1. In a large saucepan, cook garlic in a wee bit of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant.
2. Add sliced onions to pan, and arrange salt-and-peppered chicken over them.
3. Begin to brown chicken and soften onions. (Cook about 3-4 minutes.) Flip chicken over.
4. Pour in Cherry Coke to deglaze the pan.
5. Squeeze in lime juice and add cherries to the pan.
6. Pour in tomato sauce, and add–to taste–salt, pepper, chili powder, and red pepper flakes.
7. Bring to a simmer and cook for an hour or so, until liquid has reduced to a relatively thick sauce.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean August 2, 2011 at 6:05 am

haha love the inspiration. ps i think you and i would have been best friends in middle school :)

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Katie @ nutrition in a peanut shell August 2, 2011 at 6:39 am

Most blog post recipes are things that have been done somewhere, and don't look very original OR good. I must say, this looks like both.
Well definitely try and work this into my recipe rotation this week ;)

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celeryandcupcakes.com August 2, 2011 at 7:37 am

I love Lauryn Hill…she so needs a new album out asap.

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers August 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

Thank you sooooo much for bringing that song back into my life – at least for today. I was unaware of how much I missed it.

So how was the cherry cola chicken? It looks pretty good. Was it sweet? Worth a repeat?

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brocstar August 2, 2011 at 8:15 am

This post is a little early. It's not weird food Friday yet!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table August 2, 2011 at 8:21 am

That sounds amazing! I bet you could add cocoa to make it more mole and then call it cherry-bomb chicken. ;)

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atastelife August 2, 2011 at 8:33 am

So creative.
When I hear "old school" songs in the car – it makes me smile. Especially things songs by Savage Garden or TLC – Waterfall, anyone?

And we are the same person. We both love crusty pasta. And now I know we both love the "thickened" edges of sauce.

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Autumn @ Good Eats Girl August 2, 2011 at 8:53 am

This sounds AWESOME. YUM! And gotta love Savage Garden! We used to listen to them all of the time!

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Heather @ girlyeverafter August 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

I was OBSESSED with that song in middle school. Now it'll be in my head all day. haha What a great recipe.

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Christina and Mike August 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

I think there is a weird food moment here in combination with the line from "One Week" chickadee china the chinese chicken". Surely there is a way to incorporate all these chicken lyrics into one ridiculously 90s dish!

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Donna @ Life of a Happy Blonde August 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

OMG i want this now!!!!!!!!
I'm on a total chicken kick right now and ummm your chicken kinda look like fishes :o )
PRINT!!!

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Kristy Lynn August 2, 2011 at 11:02 am

I love cherries with meat – I recently made a seared duck breast with a wine and cherry reduction – delicious! Not so sure about the cola sitch here though. Kind of afraid. Though I have heard of people using coke in recipes before… maybe i should giver a shot…

PS. we should seriously start thinking about doing a "90's" song inspired dish every month. The 90's were the shiznat!

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free August 2, 2011 at 2:21 pm

This actually looks really good! Maybe I'll try it without the coke, though (Sorry! But I can't just do coke!)

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sarahlearns August 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm

lol, i used to have that savage garden album! that song actually came on in the car when my sister and i were with my fiance the other day and my sister and i busted out with all of the words and my fiance thought we were 100% crazy. :)

oh yeah, and the chicken sounds delicious too!

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divinelykatherine August 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm

This is sorta kinda awesome!

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maris (in Good Taste) August 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Much to my surprise, this looks delicious!

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Leila @ spinach and skittles August 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

When I was a junior in HS we had an exchange student who was obsessed with Savage Garden. It filled our house day and night. I'm pretty sure she sang it "chicken cherry cola"
P.S. Soooooo late on catching up on blog posts. Darn summer school. But I'm back!

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applesandwormholes August 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Haha I love going back and jamming to my old CDs. I recently had a sing off of BNLs One Week with a post doc when it played in a pub in Cardiff. (there was a time I was proud that I could keep up with all of those lyrics instead of being one of those people who sang "Gonna make a break and mrrrrummm likevanillaitsthe FINEST OF THE FLAVOURS!") Our entire group from a physics conference was laughing so hard I swear some of them cried. That's the only way to do it XD.

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