OK. Yes I am aware all my bloggings are starting with OK. I think it is better to start any project with an "OK!" attitude rather than "Oh, what fresh new buggery hell is this?". Just sayin...
We have a friend coming over for dinner tonight. As you know, I've been loading up on the frozen fruit from Dollar Tree. So...what to make? I have a bag of peaches in the freezer and I'm thinking Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts with a Peach Basil White Wine Reduction over them. A friend dubbed this "Ode to Georgia Chicken"
Years ago in Maryland, there was a group of us working in a call center, all confirmed foodies. I came up with this recipe during our play back then and I really liked it. The only tricky bit to this one is making sure your chicken breasts are pounded evenly and thinly so they cook quickly before the pecans burn. But, if you can manage it...so worth keeping in your repertoire for a quick one to impress guests. (Keep your burner moderate. Enough heat to make it sizzle but not enough to incinerate) This one is a simple dish that has such a unique combination of flavors I'm sure you'll like it.
Unless, of course, anyone is allergic to nuts. Then...this dish could KILL THEM! Always be careful. Check with your friends first. If any of them are allergic tell them to not even DRIVE past your neighborhood while you are cooking this, as anaphylaxis inducing nut scented fumes could radiate for miles when you turn on your exhaust fan. (I don't worry about the neighbors, they think I'm crazy with the drum circles around the fire pit in the back yard and stuff anyway.) Nuts and nut oils are more toxic and dangerous than Propecia, nuclear waste, anthrax and all the chemical weapons in the world combined. Do NOT send your child to school with these left overs. They will call the bomb squad and shut down the entire school district while they search for the Juglandacaen threat!
I always carry a peanut in a shell in my pocket now. In case I am attacked. If you get in trouble, simply whip it out and scream, "I have a peanut and I'm not afraid to shell it!" 9 times out of 10 your attacker will flee. Carrying a peanut in this manner is also a good way to hold your place in a line or keep someone from taking a parking space. Peanuts are more dangerous than unattended luggage in the airport.
Oh! The other bonus on this dish...it holds well. You can cook your chicken ahead of time and keep it warm in the oven, while the sauce holds on the stove until you are ready to plate. I love being able to entertain with the majority of the work done and the kitchen cleaned. It makes people think you are magical to produce all this food from a cleared and cleaned kitchen!
Anyway, let's cook.
Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts with Peach Basil Wine Reduction
4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
12 Oz Whole Pecans or Pecan pieces
¼ C Flour
½ tsp Garlic Salt
½ tsp Pepper
2 large Eggs
¼ cup Milk or Buttermilk
4-5 Tbls Butter
4-6 fresh Peaches (frozen will work)
½ C White Wine (Mead works well)
¼ to ½ cup water or wide (if needed)
4 Tbls Brown Sugar
4 leaves fresh Basil, cut thin chiffonade
small dash Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Peel peaches and slice into sections. Place into heavy pot and add wine, brown sugar, nutmeg and basil. Bring to boil and reduce heat to low and simmer until flavors marry and wine/peaches reduce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired once sauce has reduced. If reduction becomes too thick, add more water or wine. You want a thick sauce that will cling, not a watery peach soup. Set aside and keep warm.
Pound out chicken breasts to an even 1/2" thickness.
Process pecans in food processor with a few pulses, do not powder the nuts, but produce a medium grind. (Think the size of Instant Coffee Crystals). Place crushed pecans on plate.
In bowl, beat egg with milk or buttermilk. In separate bowl mix flour, garlic salt and black pepper.
Dredge chicken breasts in flour. Dip into egg/milk mixture, BACK into the flour and then into the crushed pecans. Press pecans into flour and egg clinging to chicken. Continue for all 4 breasts. Set chicken on plate and allow to rest at least ten minutes.
Heat 4-5 Tbls of butter in heavy saute pan over medium heat. Cook and brown 2-3 minutes and turn. Continue browning and cooking another 2-3 minutes until chicken is done through and pecans are nicely browned. Unless you have a REALLY large pan, cook 2 at a time, do not crowd the pan. Cook to an internal temperature of 160*.
Remove chicken from pan and drain on paper towels. To plate, place one chicken breast per service and spoon over the peach wine reduction.
* If you do not have an instant read thermometer, stop now, go get one. Seriously.
(You could use a healthier oil for this instead of butter, but the butter gives a nice flavor and helps you keep the nuts from burning. If the butter will burn, so will the nuts.)
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