Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pecan-crusted chicken:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg whites (reserve yolks for another use)
  • 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs

dipping sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons whole grain or stone ground mustard
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons Bourbon Maple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper

 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Arrange the racks in the upper and lower two thirds of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes.  Place on one of the baking sheets.  Drizzle potatoes with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the pumpkin pie spice and cayenne pepper.

Place potatoes on the lower rack in the oven and bake at 400 for 45 minutes, stirring once, until potatoes are fork tender with browned caramelized edges.

Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken breasts so you have six 4-ounce pieces.  Rinse the chicken then pat dry with a paper towel.  Place chicken on a large cutting board.  Season each side with salt, pepper and coriander.

Lightly coat with the flour by sprinkling the flour over the chicken and turning to coat (or put the flour in a bowl and dip the chicken pieces in the flour, but flouring the chicken on the cutting board saves washing another bowl).

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk.  Set aside.

Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until you have coarse crumbs.  Add the bread crumbs and pulse a few times to combine.  Pour into another shallow bowl.

Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg white mixture, then coat with the pecan mixture.  Place on the baking sheet.  If you have any pecans left, just sprinkle them on top of the chicken.

Place chicken on the upper rack in the oven and bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the pecan coating is brown and crispy.  (Put the chicken in the oven after the potatoes have already baked for 20 minutes, so they can finish together.)

Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, honey, syrup, water, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper in a bowl.  Divide between individual dipping bowls.

Serve chicken with the dipping sauce and the sweet potatoes.

Yields 6 servings.
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