Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with a Sweet Corn Reduction Sauce

I'm back!  Did you  miss me?  So M's after school activities have ended for the year which means that she gets home REALLY early every day.  Wow, it's amazing how much difference just a couple of hours a day make.  I honestly haven't had the cooking/creating bug lately and so therefore don't have much to share this week.  I did make a delicious meal last week though that I'm just now getting around to posting.

I used Rachael Ray's pecan-crusted chicken recipe as the basis to make this yummy dish and I found a sweet corn reduction sauce recipe here.

First, let's talk about preparation.  It's amazing how easy it is to follow a recipe when you have all of your ingredients chopped up, measured out and ready to go before you start cooking.  I'm going to try to get better at doing this.

Before we get started with the sauce, get your oven preheating to 400 degrees.  Okay, now let's make the sweet corn reduction sauce.  We're going to add our frozen sweet corn and diced onions to a pan with some heated olive oil.  Saute for a about a minute.

Now, add your sliced jalepenos and heat until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.  Don't worry, it doesn't make a spicy sauce.  Your kids will still eat it.  Side note, I omitted the bell pepper simply because I didn't have one.

Here's the shot of the reduced liquid.   Next time I'll let it reduce down a bit further since I found the sauce a little too soupy.  Add your honey, salt, pepper and lemon juice now.

Once you're done reducing, set your sauce aside while you get your chicken going.  We're going to start by putting our pecan pieces (which by the way, I forgot to toast and I just bought a bag of pecan pieces and skipped the food processor step), bread crumbs, salt, pepper and basil in a shallow baking dish.

Coat your chicken with honey mustard and then give them a generous coating of the pecan mixture...yum!  I thought I would spare you the picture of the raw chicken breasts with mustard rubbed on them.  For some reason it grosses me out to see pics of raw chicken.  Weird, I know.

That's it my friends!  Just place your chicken on a sheet of parchment, to make clean up easy, drizzle with some olive oil and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Remember, always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Now, back to the sauce.  While your chicken is baking, heat your sauce back up and then pour your reduction into a blender and blend until all of the solids are liquified.  Or, if you were a better a planner, you could have been making your sauce while the chicken was cooking.  See?  Aren't you glad I'm trying all of these recipes out for you so you know what not to do?  Feel free to leave a comment thanking me if you'd like.  Whew, I crack myself up.

Where were we?  Oh yeah, blended sauce.  Here's what mine looked like.  Hopefully yours will be a bit thicker so that your significant other doesn't ask if it's soup.

Simple recipe, right?  I guess I got a little too excited, because I forgot to take any pictures between now and serving the dish.  I think you can all figure it out though.  I served the meal with mashed potatoes.  Here's a tip.  Instead of using butter, I used the new Philadelphia cooking creme in Italian Cheese and Herb.  Wow.  Best mashed potatoes that I've ever made (I swear I'm not getting compensated by them in any way, shape or form).


Sweet Corn Reduction Sauce

1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup diced onion
1 1/4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced jalapeño pepper
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

In a medium pan, sauté corn, garlic, and onion in oil over medium heat 1 minute. Add jalapeño and bell pepper. Cook 30 seconds. Add stock. Reduce liquid by half. Season with honey, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Transfer to blender and puree.

Pecan-Crusted Chicken

1 cup pecans. toasted
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1/4 cup honey mustard

Preheat the oven to 400°. Using a food processor, grind the pecans into fine crumbs. Transfer to a wide, shallow bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Rub each chicken breast with honey mustard, then coat with the pecan mixture. Place on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake until the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes.

Oh, I have to share these pics of M trying out the dish, which she loved by the way.

First one, "Yum!"  Just so you know, it's well into the 80s here.  I have no idea why she is wearing a knit hat...with her ballet recital outfit.

Second, "I'm not liking it anymore."  :-(

Finally, "I'm just kidding!  This rocks!"  What a goof ball.

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