Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pecan Crusted Chicken

Have you ever wanted to marry your food?  Beware- you might want to marry this chicken.  While I was making it, I was just going over the proposal in my head..

My husband had texted me while he was at Whole Foods and asked me if I needed any meat.  I quickly grabbed my Cook's Illustrated Cookbook to find the fried chicken I wanted to try, but before I found it, I was sidetracked by the Pecan Crusted Chicken in the index.  I immediately went to that recipe and never looked back.

This chicken was relatively easy to make and well worth any extra effort it took (grinding pecans in food processor). Since there are toasted nuts and panko crumbs for the coating, this baked chicken still came out crispy and flavorful. The hint of lemon from the zest and the thyme really complimented the flavor, I was tempted to just eat the coating on its own!  It was such a hit at dinner, my grandmother told me it was the best chicken she's ever had (and she's 83!) If that's not a compliment, I don't know what is.

Add this to your menu for next week, you'll be glad you did!

Pecan Crusted Chicken:

Oven:  350'

4 boneless breast chicken, tenderloins removed
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1 shallot, chopped finely
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup pecans, coarsely ground (about 20 pulses in food processor)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp thyme
1/2 cup flour
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350' and set wire baking rack over a cookie sheet, set aside.

1) Prepare chicken by removing tenderloins, set aside.

2) Melt butter in 12 inch skilled until browned and bubbly.  Add the chopped shallot and salt and stir until fragrant, about 4 minutes.  Next, add chopped pecans and panko crumbs, occasionally stir until golden and toasted, about 8 minutes.

3) Remove pan from heat, pour crumb mixture into a shallow dish, such as a pie pan.  Mix in the lemon zest, thyme, and pepper.  Stir.

4) Put about 1/2 cup flour in a medium bowl.  Evenly coat the chicken in the flour.

5) Beat the eggs in another medium bowl.  Dip and coat the floured chicken with the egg mixture.

6) Place the egg coated chicken in the pie pan with the crumb mixture, evenly coat each piece with crumbs, lightly press to set the crumbs.  Place the chicken on a wire baking rack set over a cookie sheet and bake in oven for 20-30 minutes.

7) Serve with lemon wedges and enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

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