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Habanero Honey Chicken Recipe

As football season heats up, I like to get cooking and make traditional game day favorites with a healthy twist….like fiery buffalo chicken. My habanero honey recipe (below) is made with all white meat tenders drenched in smooth, buttery habanero hot sauce featuring habanero flavored olive oil and sweet raw honey.

Vervana Blazing Habanero hot sauce - hot chili olive oil
Vervana habanero olive oil brings the 5-alarm heat!

If you’ve ever made your own habanero hot sauce, you know it’s a labor of love…Habaneros are not for the faint of heart. On the “hotness scale” or Scoville scale, habaneros rank among the top edible peppers for heat content, boasting exponentially more Scoville Heat Units (SHUs) than jalapeno, chipotle, and even cayenne peppers. Many people opt to wear gloves when preparing habanero hot sauce, because these little orange peppers can irritate sensitive skin. And if you happen to inadvertently rub your eyes after handling habaneros, you’ll feel the burn – habaneros are no joke!

As someone who likes ease and convenience, I prefer to skip the habanero handling process, and instead use habanero flavored olive oil (you can learn more about how it is made here). This oil is really closer to being a FIERY hot sauce than an olive oil – it packs some serious heat, and a little bit of this very special oil goes a long way!

Habanero Honey Chicken Tenders

You’ll need:

unfliltered natural and local honey
Raw honey adds a touch of sweetness to balance the habanero FIRE!

In a frying pan, saute the chicken tenders in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until cooked through (about 7 to 10 minutes each side).

While the chicken is cooking, make the habanero hot sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, and stir in the honey until you reach desired sweetness. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then add the habanero flavored olive oil. I would start with 1.5 Tbsp, and add gradually add more until you get to your preferred level of hotness (remember, the habanero hot sauce will pack less heat when you coat the chicken with it, so make your sauce a little bit hotter than you like it). Add the lime juice to desired citrus flavor, and mix until emulsified. Remove half the honey habanero hot sauce and reserve in a small bowl for dipping.

When the chicken is done, slice the tenders into bite-sized pieces, then transfer them to the bowl and toss in the honey habanero hot sauce. Let the chicken marinate for 5 minutes in the sauce, then add salt to taste. Serve with toothpicks and a side of habanero hot sauce.

Chicken Tenders with Habanero Honey Aioli

Although I’m not a fan of mayonnaise (for health reasons), family members have told me that it is simply awesome as a dipping sauce when blended with habanero olive oil and honey. So, for those of you who like a little mayo on occasion, here’s an alternate recipe:

You cook the chicken the same way as in the above Habanero Honey Chicken recipe, but instead of coating it in the sauce, you dip the chicken in habanero honey aioli. It’s super simple to make – just put the mayo in small dish and mix with habanero olive oil and honey. As the habanero olive oil is extremely hot, start with just a tiny drizzle and add as needed until you reach your preferred spicy hot flavor. Same with the raw honey, you don’t want a dip that’s too sweet.

Make sure you have a tasty beverage on hand to help put the fire out – Mangiare!

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