Pecan-crusted chicken

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I think this meal was a winner in my house. I made enough for 6 servings and after the three of us ate, there was none left. And my 14 year old stepson, who has very particular views on food these days, asked if we could have it again very soon. Definitely a success.
It takes a few steps, but none are too complicated and you get to pound on chicken, so if you’re having a grumpy day it’s a great chance to work some of that out! And a tip for you all, I made the mistake of making the salad first without reading the recipe carefully. I like to get my sides done first so when the cooked items are done, we get to eat while it’s hot. But, in this recipe, once you coat the chicken, it rests for 20-30 minutes, the perfect amount of time to make the salad that goes with it (or to drink some wine if you’re me and made the above mentioned error.)
First, cut the breasts in half lengthwise, then pound out to about 1/2 inch thick. The main thing you want is even thickness so the breasts will cook evenly. I put a plastic bag on top of the meat to protect it from falling apart.

Then prepare the coating mixtures-there are two, one for dipping and one for coating (recipes follow).
Dip the chicken in the liquid mixture first, then in the crumb mixture and don’t worry if the crumbs don’t stick on well. Scoop handfuls of the mixture and pile them on top of the chicken. Then transfer the chicken to a rack set over a baking sheet and air-dry the chicken for 20-30 minutes to help set the crumbs.
While chicken rests, make the salad. Then saute the chicken breasts, slice and serve on top of salad. The recipes come from Cuisine at Home. Enjoy!

Serves 4
About an hour total

For the pecan-crusted chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-pounded as mentioned above
2 egg whites
2 tsp cornstarch
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs (see note below on crumbs)
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
zest of 1 lemon, minced fine
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
3 tbsp canola oil for cooking

For Salad:
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced shallot (1 medium sized shallot)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
8 cups mixed salad greens
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
4 oz mild goat cheese, crumbled

Note on bread crumbs: It’s best to make your own bread crumbs for this and it’s easy to do. You’ll need a rustic type of bread with a chewy, yet fairly soft crust. Cut bread into cubes or slices and put in food processor, you may need to work in batches. The crumbs don’t need to be uniform-they can be powdery to the size of peas. Then put crumbs on a baking sheet for 10-15 minutes in a 200 degree oven until dry, but not toasted.  I did this while I was pounding out the chicken. You can freeze any leftover crumbs and you’re all set for the next time you make this. And there will be a next time!

-Prepre chicken breasts by halving and pounding.
-Whisk egg whites, cornstarch and lemon juice in a shallow dish for dipping.
-Mix bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, lemon zest, pecans, oregano, thyme, paprika and cayenne in another shallow dish, such as a pie plate.
-Dip both sides of chicken in liquid mix then into the crumb mixture. Pat crumbs on both sides of chicken-use hands to pat crumbs on and pile on top of chicken. Put coated chicken on rack to air-dry for 20-30 minutes.
-Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
-Put canola oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add chicken breasts-lay each breast in towards you so as the crumbs fall off into the pan, they create a “bed” for the chicken to rest on. Don’t worry about the crumbs that fall off, you’ll use them later. Saute chicken until golden, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip chicken and cook for another few minutes. Transfer skillet to oven to finish cooking. Roast chicken until just done, about 8 more minutes.
-Remove chicken from oven, slice and serve fanned over salad greens. Take the extra crumbs from the pan and sprinkle over the top for extra flavor. Serve with any extra dressing on the side.

To assemble the salad:
-Combine honey, mustard, shallot, vinegar, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Whisk in olive oil until combined.
-Put the greens in a bowl and toss with the dressing-you probably won’t need all the dressing, so just use enough to coat the greens nicely.
-Put the onions and cheese on top and toss lightly.
-Divide greens evenly between 4 plates and top with sliced chicken. Sprinkle any extra crumbs on top and serve with extra dressing on the side as noted above.



gretta (141 Posts)

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