Sunday, July 10, 2011

Go Nuts: Pecan Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

There is nothing better than the sweet, buttery taste of pecans. Traditionally used in desserts, these versatile nuts are quite underestimated in the world of savory dishes. But they make an excellent addition to fish and chicken dishes.

"Pecan" is from an Algonquian word, meaning a nut requiring a stone to crack. The antioxidants and plant sterols found in pecans reduce high cholesterol by reducing the "bad" LDL cholesterol levels. Pecans are a good source of protein and unsaturated fats.

Whether you pronounce it "Peh-kahn" or "Pee-can", these tasty little devils are just what you need to change up your family dinners.

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce


For Chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp salt
3 - 4 tbsps peanut or olive oil
1 egg white
1 tbsp water

For Sauce:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

Using a meat tenderizer, pound chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch thick. (Or you can butterfly the breasts if you're feeling fancy.)

In a small bowl, whisk together honey and mustard.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. In a food processor, combine bread crumbs, pecans and salt and pulse until you have a fine crumb mixture. Pour the mixture into a large, shallow bowl.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg white and water.

Dip chicken in egg white mixture and then in pecan mixture. Place in the pan and cook until brown on both sides and juices run clear.

Serve with honey mustard sauce on the side or drizzle it on top.

Tips For This Recipe:

*Don't let your oil get too hot! Burned pecans are not tasty.
*Taste test your honey mustard sauce. Adjust your amounts if you like it more spicy or more sweet.
*Be careful when chopping the nuts in your food processor. If you overblend, you'll end up with a paste.
*You can add more seasonings to the bread crumb mixture if you like, but don't go crazy. Let the natural richness of the pecans do the work.

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