Pecan-Crusted Chicken Dinner for Dinner

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Pecan-Crusted Chicken Dinner

I made Pecan-Crusted Chicken for dinner, and I blogged about it. It felt sort of comforting and familiar. Both the blogging and the dinner.

This might shock you to know, but that’s not the way I usually work.

Blogs evolve. When I started this blog November 21, 2008 I was very intent on presenting the food that I was eating everyday. I somehow thought that my dinner choices were fascinating enough to support a prolific blog and a slew of happy followers. If I made it, I would photograph it, I would eat it, I would blog about it– and they would come! Simple as that.

This started out as a pretty good deal, because regular old menu planning equaled blog posts– night after night (after night).

However, the longer I blogged, the more I realized that recurring “big salads” and 2 nights a week of pasta or 3 nights a week of summer grilling could get repetitive fairly quickly. It also meant that dinner got held up for photo shoots. Uncomfortable arguments entailed, etc.

I was brought up Episcopalian, I’m not used to raised voices at the dinner table. It seems so Fred and Ethel to me. Certainly we were more Howard and Marion Cunningham than Fred and Ethel Mertz. Certainly.

I’m sure you’ve guessed that the squabbles were usually about late dinners and crappy photographs. Ken was peeved by cold plates, and I was embarrassed to be seen running all over the house with a plate of spaghetti in hand looking for good light (at 7pm on a rainy winter’s evening). I pretty quickly determined this was not the path to blog success (or marital bliss).

Something would have to change if I was to continue blogging.

Blogging would have to become my job. Calenders were put in place. Schedules were designed so that I could blog at more reasonable hours. Dinner once again became the time to reconnect. A time to focus my attention on Howard (I mean Ken) and ask how his day went.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

However I recently had a bout of nostalgia and reverted to my old ways. I was making this Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy for dinner when I realized that Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy was perfect for Sippity Sup. So for old time sake I grabbed the plate I’d soon be serving Ken and ran all over the house looking for some good light. It was kind of fun and I’m grateful that after 6 years of blogging, a plate of Pecan-Crusted Chicken can still remind me what it’s like to be a brand new blogger. GREG

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 2Published
Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 cup apple cider
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper (as needed)
  • 1 large baking apple (peeled, halved, cored, each half cut into 4 wedges)
  • ½ large onion (peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rings)
  • 3 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (divided)
  • 1 cup toasted pecans (roughly chopped)
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (washed and dried)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoon bourbon
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 2 cup cooked and buttered egg noodles (kept warm)

Directions

Place oven racks in the top and center positions. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Pour apple cider into a large saucepan set over medium-high heat until reduced to ⅓ cup, about 20 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter and a pinch each of salt and pepper.

Lay the apples and onion slices onto a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Toss them with 2 teaspoons thyme leaves and half the apple cider glaze. Arrange in as close to a single layer as possible, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast the apples and onions on upper oven rack until beginning to brown; about 18 minutes. Remove from oven, toss with remaining glaze, taking care to turn the apples. Season with salt and pepper and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme leaves. Roast 10 more minutes. Remove from oven. Leave the oven on.

Pulse the pecans in a mini-food processor until they resemble coarse crumbs; place in a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs into a separate shallow bowl season and with salt and pepper. Place beaten eggs and water into a 3rd shallow bowl and mix together.

Line the bowls up on the counter. Start by dipping one of the chicken breast halves into the egg mixture. Using your fingers wipe away most of the egg. Next dredge the chicken breast in the breadcrumb mixture until well-coated. Then move the breast back to the egg mixture. Do not use you fingers to remove the excess egg this time. Lastly lay the breast into the pecan bowl and press the ground nuts into the breast as you turn it over and around until completely coated with almonds. Gently set the breast aside and repeat with the remaining breast half.

Let the breasts sit undisturbed about 15 minutes to allow the crust to set some.

Heat a large cast iron or oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter. Once it gets foamy, but before it browns, add the canola oil.

Place the breasts in the skillet, leaving plenty of room between each one. Saute on one side until well browned; about 3 minutes. Do not move the chicken around too much as the crust will break easily. Turn the breasts over and transfer the skillet to the center rack of still heated oven. Bake until the chicken is cooked through, about 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the breasts.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan, once it gets foamy add the flour and whisk. Cook whisking constantly, until a golden paste is formed. Remove from heat, stir in chicken stock, bourbon, maple syrup and cream, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened; about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken with the gravy, apples and buttered noodles (if using).