Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Apples and Maple-Bourbon Gravy makes a fall meal everyone will remember.
- 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)
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).