Pecan Crusted Citrus Chicken
- 4 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 cups pecan halves
- zest from 2 small oranges
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper (adjust levels to match your personal tolerance)
- 1 cup flour
- Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease baking sheets.
- You will want all your chicken breast pieces to be approximately the same size and same thickness. I was working with the *Chernobyl sized chicken breast that Sam's Club and Wal-Mart sell so I cut off the thinner half and then cut the thicker end into two pieces. Place the two thick pieces from one breast into a clean ziploc bag and seal with most of the air removed. This will prevent them from escaping when you try to pound them flat (don't ask me how I know). Then, pound those two pieces flat until they matched the thickness of the thin end. Ideally, use a kitchen mallet but a large rolling pin can do the job too. Repeat until all chicken breast pieces are same thickness.
- Using a food processor, crush the pecan halves until they are reduced to small crumbs and powder.
- Mix crushed pecans, orange zest, cayenne pepper, and flour together.
- Coat each chicken breast piece with pecan mixture and place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice (if you can't find Arborio Rice, you can substitute a medium or short grain rice and get almost the same texture...long grain rice will probably produce a delicious dish but won't have the same texture as classic risotto)
- 1 1/2 qts of meat stock (I used chicken)
- 6 largish white/button mushrooms
- 1 medium onion
- 4 cloves of garlic (you can reduce this if you aren't a big fan of garlic)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup of vermouth or wine or sherry (I used blackberry Manischewitz)
- Heat stock until hot but not boiling
- Thinly slice the mushrooms and mince the garlic and onion (or, if you are like me and are stupid enough to believe the cooking websites that say you can freeze fresh, whole mushrooms, then you will have to dice the mushrooms)
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat
- Saute the onions, garlic and mushrooms, add a pinch of salt and pepper
- Turn heat up to medium high
- Add rice and saute for a few minutes longer, until the rice starts to look translucent
- Add wine to rice and heat until boiling, stirring the whole time
- Add stock one cup at a time, stirring continually...do not add next cup until liquid has been absorbed (this will take 15 to 20 minutes)
Veggie Toppings for Risotto
- 2 yellow squash
- 2 zucchini
- olive oil
- soy sauce
- Cut squash and zucchini into small bite sized chunks
- Heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat
- Add squash and zucchini and saute for a few minutes
- Splash veggies with soy sauce and saute for a few more minutes
I did all the prep work, all the chopping and smashing and dicing before I started cutting and preparing the chicken breasts. I also cooked the veggies (and removed them from the heat) before I started cooking the chicken breasts. That meant that once I popped the chicken breasts in the oven, I could start on the rice and it would all get done around the same time. It was a truly delicious dinner.