Thursday, November 10, 2011

Buttermilk Pecan Crusted Chicken

Awkward top picture, right? I mean, it's a bunch of cooked chicken on a Rectangle Stone with a Digital Pocket Thermometer sticking out of it. Not the best food photography ever, but I've got to admit I took the lazy way out here. Rather than plate the final product properly for a photo session, I decided to just eat it. I'm not sorry.

This is a simple, healthy recipe that's good enough to serve guests yet straightforward enough to throw together for Thursday lunch. If you have chicken breasts, buttermilk, pecans, and panko, happiness is at your fingertips. Here's how to grab hold.

Buttermilk Pecan Crusted Chicken

- 3 chicken breasts
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup panko
- 1/2 cup pecans
- Salt and pepper to taste

Flatten chicken breasts to about 1/2-inch thickness, and marinate them in buttermilk for one hour. While chicken marinates, finely crush panko and pecans; stir together. (Panko = Japanese bread crumbs, in case you didn't know.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove chicken from buttermilk, shaking off excess. Dredge in pecan mixture, and place on stoneware. Bake 25-30 minutes or until chicken reaches 160 degrees. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

Recipes that involve flattening meat intimidate most novice cooks, but let me put your mind at ease. The Meat Tenderizer makes it super simple, and it only takes a minute. The base is reversible with one side for tenderizing and the other for flattening. I trimmed the chicken with a 5" Santoku Knife from the Forged Cutlery Collection, and then I spread it on the Large Cutting Board for pounding.

The outside coating really can't be any simpler. Pecans. Panko. Done. My chicken is marinating in a Small Batter Bowl (notice the lid), and the pecan mixture is about to happen in a Cake Pan. Panko is measured into an Easy Read Measuring Cup, and pecans are in a rip-off bag that says 1/2 cup but only contains 1/3 cup. Scroll down for Food Chopper action.

Ok, this is a must-have in every kitchen. The Food Chopper can be used with the base (as I did here) or without it, and it comes apart to go in the dishwasher. The blades even rotate to ensure even chopping. I've had this chopper more than ten years, and it's still blowing my mind.

This is so simple that it's almost embarrassing. Dredge the chicken in the pecan mixture, and place it on a piece of Stoneware. Any piece will work, but I'm using the Rectangle Stone. This is the most tender, moist chicken I've made, and I know stoneware has a lot to do with that. Three words: Even heat distribution. Ok, so take the chicken out of the oven, check its temperature, and add a little bit of salt and pepper. I use the Pampered Pantry Salt and Pepper with the Bamboo Grinder Set (pictured in the first photo), and that really is all the seasoning I need. High quality ingredients mean you get to use less!

This recipe is really simple. It's just something I clipped out of Health Magazine last year, and it's become one of my favorite dishes. The chicken is flavorful without a bunch of hidden calories, and the ease of preparation is almost too good to be true. Try this sometime, and let me know what you think!

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