This recipe for Chicken Tenders with Bacon Jalapeño Sauce makes a delicious main course everyone will love. This recipe can be part of a low-carb, ketogenic, gluten-free, Atkins, LC/HF, or Banting diet.
These chicken tenders are rubbed with a mixture of olive oil, paprika, salt, and pepper to add flavor and color before grilling or broiling. After cooking, they are smothered with creamy smokey bacon sauce infused with jalapeño peppers. Everyone will love this smokey, spicy goodness, whether they eat low-carb or not.
The idea for this recipe came directly from a meal I ate at a restaurant. I ordered a main course of fish with a bacon jalapeño sauce. It was good, but not quite what I had imagined. I wanted a sauce with flavors focused less on mouth-burning heat, and more on a balance of heat and bacon. Yep, they had been stingy with the bacon and tried to cover-up their sin by making it so spicy nobody would notice. Except me. I noticed.
I went to work in the kitchen the next day to create the sauce I had imagined. It took a few tries, but I nailed my vision in the end. The most difficult thing was getting the right jalapeño flavor in the sauce. I found that cooking the peppers with the sauce created a delicious soft jalapeño background flavor. The problem was that there was no spicy pop. If I added the peppers at the end of cooking, I got that spicy heat, but no softer flavor. I solved this issue by cooking half of the jalapeño, and then adding the other half at the end of cooking. This way, I get a softer pepper flavor in the sauce and that spicy zip.
This recipe was really supposed to be grilled. I love grilling in the summer. I guess I love it a little too much, because when I took these chicken strips out to the grill, I found my grill wasn’t even close to preheated. A few minutes of diagnostic work revealed that my grill was out of gas. I didn’t have time to change the tank, so I did the next best thing. I transferred them onto a broiling pan and slid it under a preheated broiler.
The end result was still delicious, but the chicken tenders didn’t have those beautiful grill lines I love so much. I couldn’t bring myself to call it “grilled chicken” without grill lines on the chicken in the photos. Earlier renditions of this recipe have been grilled, so I give instructions for both. Either method works beautifully.
This recipe for Chicken Tenders with Bacon Jalapeño Sauce makes a quick and easy meal. Even people who don’t eat low-carb will love this main course. Serve it with a veggie or a salad to make a complete meal. Enjoy!
Chicken Tenders with Bacon Jalapeno Sauce
For the chicken:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1.5 pounds chicken tenders patted dry
For the sauce:
- 4 slices bacon Chopped into 1/2 inch squares
- 2 ounce yellow onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 jalapeno pepper minced, quantity divided
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro or parsley minced
- sea salt
- black pepper freshly ground
In a medium bowl, mix olive oil, paprika and one teaspoon salt together. Add chicken tenders and gently mix to coat the chicken with the paprika mixture. Set aside, allowing the chicken to come to room temperature while preparing the sauce.
For the sauce:
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside. Discard all but about one tablespoon of the bacon grease.
Place same skillet over medium low heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and edges are brown. Stir in garlic and half of the jalapeño, reserving the rest of the jalapeño for later. Cook for one minute.
Add the balsamic vinegar to the pan and stir vigorously, scraping up brown bits. Boil, stirring frequently, until sauce becomes syrupy. Gradually stir in cream.
Bring cream to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until cream has thickened to desired consistency. Stir in the remaining jalapeño, the cilantro or parsley, and the bacon pieces. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired.
For the chicken:
While the sauce is finishing, preheat the grill or broiler to high heat. If using a broiler, place chicken pieces on a broiler pan with a rack, making sure edges do not touch.
If using a broiler: Place chicken under broiler about 5 inches from the heating element and broil for 5-7 minutes or until top side is cooked and begins to brown. Turn chicken and broil for 3-7 minutes longer or until chicken is cooked through.
If using a grill: place chicken on the grill making sure the pieces do not touch. Turn heat to low and close the grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes or until the first side begins to brown. Turn pieces using tongs. Grill for 3-7 minutes longer, or until done.
To serve, spoon the sauce over the chicken.
Serving size: 1/6th of recipe-about 2 tenders
Fat (g): 20
Carbs (g): 4
Fiber (g): 0
Protein (g): 25
Net carbs (g): 4