Sunday, October 9, 2011
Honey Pecan 'Fried' Chicken with Hot Sauce Butter
This is slap-yourself-in-the-face good. Hot, crunchy, spicy, sweet. Serve with extra hot sauce butter and honey on the side to dip the chicken in as well as any sides that are dip-able I.E. biscuits, sweet potato fries, phalanges, what have you. Or if you'd like to eat it as portrayed in my spectacular photo (kidding!) make the herbed goat cheese grits at the bottom of this post. And remember it's 'oven-fried' so pat on the back, buddy. Way to go.
Pecan Crusted Chicken with Hot Sauce Butter and Honey
Chicken and Marinade:
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
3 fat sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves, smashed
2 dried bay leaves
fresh cracked pepper
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Hot Sauce Butter:
4 tablespoons melted butter (I use salted) combined with 1 tablespoon Frank's Hot Sauce, or more to taste
1/4 cup or so, for drizzling over hot baked chicken
Add the buttermilk to a large ziploc along with the sea salt, smoked paprika, coriander, thyme, garlic and pepper. Mix well then dunk the chicken breasts in, seal, and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking.
Preheat your oven to 375. Drain the chicken, pat dry and place in a rimmed glass or ceramic baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray. Lightly season with salt and pepper, then gently spoon the chicken coating (above) over the chicken trying to cover every exposed surface and applying in as even a layer as possible. Now you drizzle the hot sauce butter over the top using a spoon - use a zig zag motion and pour in a thin layer - you don't need to douse the chicken (though you could) - just give the coating enough moisture to achieve that 'bake-fried' texture.
Cover the dish with foil and cook on the center rack for 15 minutes. Uncover and cook another 15-18 minutes until the topping is golden brown and the chicken juices run clear when pierced with a knife (unless breasts are very thick - they should be cooked through by 25-28 minutes.) If at any point the topping begins to blacken, recover with foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving, drizzling liberally with honey.
Herbed Goat Cheese Grits:
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 fat peeled garlic clove
3/4 cups quick grits
2 oz goat cheese
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
pinch fresh cracked black pepper
handful fresh minced basil
handful fresh minced flat leaf parsley
pinch fresh chopped rosemary
Add the chicken stock and garlic to a medium lidded pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the grits and slowly stir in. Lower the heat to medium/low - just until the liquid is gently simmering and no longer boiling. Cook, stirring continuously until the grits have thickened to your liking - usually abotut 7-8 minutes for me. Kill the heat and stir in the goat cheese, parmesan, pepper and herbs. Serve right away, removing garlic clove if desired.