Thursday, July 23, 2015

Honey Pecan Chicken

Hello, everyone!  Happy Thursday!  Today we're doing one of my favorite recipes for supper.  Honey.  Pecan.  Chicken.  Yep.  Just let that settle into your brain here for a minute.  Even better, is that it is so deceptively easy to make, that it would be amazing to entertain with!
Fun story time!  When we moved into our house, we had about four feet of backyard, and a ton of woods.  So, my husband cut down lots of trees, while I went through and picked out the ones I wanted to keep.  I wanted to save a few, for shade in the backyard, and one of them was one that I wasn't familiar with (it was late fall, so most of the trees had dropped all of their leaves), so I told him I wanted to keep it, and see what it was.
Well, surprise, surprise, come spring, we found out that it was a pecan tree!  Even better, it fruits!  However, between the dogs and the squirrels, we don't get to eat any of the pecans.  Oh well, I still love that tree, and it gives great shade for the yard!
My husband wishes that he had cut it down, because it does make a mess in the yard (between the leaves and the fallen pecans/shells, there is shrapnel everywhere!).  I love looking out of the backdoor and seeing the big, beautiful tree though, so he just has to suck it up!

Anyway, I'm not sure why I felt the need to go off on that story, other than the fact that has to do with pecans!  Let's get started with this recipe so you can see how yummy and easy it is!
Here's the grocery list for this one:
2 C buttermilk
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
2 1/2 C chopped pecans
3 Tbs flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 eggs
3 Tbs honey, plus extra for drizzle

This is pretty simple, so this post will probably be pretty quick!  To start off with, put your chicken breasts into a zip top bag, and pour the buttermilk over them. *I just said 2-3 pieces of boneless skinless chicken breasts, because that's what normally comes in a pack.  If you're making more for a larger crowd, feel free to multiply this recipe as needed!
Pop this into the fridge and let it sit for at least 4 hours, but up to 12 would be fine. (As usual, put it in a bowl in your fridge, in case the zip top bag leaks!  That would be a huge mess if it leaked all over your fridge!)

When you're ready to bake your chicken, preheat the oven to 375*, and line a baking sheet pan with some parchment paper.  In a food processor, finely grind 1 cup of the pecans, being careful not to make a nut butter by over processing.  It would be delicious, but not the texture that we're looking for! 
When you have something that looks like this, put it into a plate (I like to use a cake pan, but whatever you want to use for breading your chicken) with the flour, paprika, and salt.  Mix these well, and set aside. 

Take the other 1 1/2 cup of pecans, and grind them up, leaving larger pieces than the first cup, and place this in another pan (or, again, cake pan), and set aside.
Beat your eggs up in a third plate (or cake pan) with the 3 Tbs of honey, mixing well.  When you're all done, your breading station should look like this:  the pecan/flour mixture, followed by the honey/egg mixture, followed by the solo pecans, ending in the parchment paper lined baking sheet. 

So, drain the buttermilk from your chicken, and place it directly in the flour/pecan dish, patting both sides firmly in, getting good coverage. 
Move the chicken over to the honey/egg mixture, and make sure that both sides have good coverage as well. 

Move the chicken to the solo pecans and, again, press firmly to make sure you get good coverage on the chicken.  Move this to the baking sheet, and continue through until all of your chicken is covered! 

If you see any areas that didn't get covered, and it bothers you, feel free to stick some directly onto the chicken at this point.  I had a few naked spots, but I wasn't worried about it.  I knew there would be tons of flavor here!  When your chicken is finished, bake at 375* for 40 minutes.  The nuts toast up in the oven, creating a deep, delicious flavor that only toasted pecans can bring.  Yum!   
You can serve this directly out of the oven as is, or put an extra drizzle of honey over the top, which is what I like to do!