Posted by: kriscdub | January 11, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different: Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Raspberry Sauce

I’ve been back in Ann Arbor for a week, now, and I think I’m finally recovering from cookie overload. There are still macaroni balls in the fridge, just staring me down, but I managed a nice, healthy bruchetta and pasta yesterday. That wedge of Mom’s leftover birthday cake isn’t helping, either. The cake should be up soon, since it was wonderful, but I think we need to end my tyranny of sweets, if not of decadence (Even if Garrick already did by posting his pork chop post minutes before I was going to post this. They were delicious, so I will concede). So before we return to your regularly scheduled program of butter, chocolate, and more butter, here’s my favorite chicken recipe: pistachio crusted chicken strips with raspberry sauce. This is one of those recipes you make to get someone to propose to you. The best part is, other than shelling the pistachios, it really doesn’t take that long. You could probably toss these on a salad, but I tend to just eat them on their own. Please, please don’t skimp on the raspberry sauce, though. The chicken strips are good, but the raspberry sauce puts them way over the top.

Your ingredients for the chicken:

You can use any type of bread crumbs. I usually use Italian style, simply because that’s what we tend to have at home, but I’ve used panko before, and that was also very good. You also need chicken breasts, of course, cut into strips about an inch wide. Don’t you just love these raw meat shots? Yah, me neither. I used three chicken breasts, but you can use anywhere from 2-4, depending on how many people you’re feeding. This was enough for four people.

So instead of using an egg wash or something similar to keep the bread crumbs and pistachios on, this recipe uses a mixture of dijon mustard, honey, and olive oil. It has a good amount of stick to it, and it adds an extra, subtle flavor to the chicken. I usually make it and the bread crumb mixture in advance and keep them in the fridge until I’m feeling hungry, because once this stuff is all ready, it takes about 5 minutes to get the strips in the oven and 20 to be ready. Sometimes I make the raspberry sauce in advance, too, but I’ve found that if I start it right when I put the chicken in the oven, it’s perfect by the time the strips are done. Anyway, start out by chopping shelled pistachios until you’ve got a cup full. You want most of them to be very fine, but some bigger chunks add a nice crunch.

Mix the cup of chopped pistachios with half a cup of bread crumbs. I usually do this in a shallow plastic container with a lid so that I can shake the crumbs to combine them as well as store them until I feel like making dinner. Also, this type of container works very well for rolling the chicken strips in the crumbs.

Next, the mustard mixture. You need equal portions of dijon mustard, honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Two tablespoons of each works well, and since the mustard and honey are so sticky, I do it in this order to keep the measuring process relatively painless:

1 tablespoon of oil

2 tablespoons of mustard

Another tablespoon of oil, then 2 tablespoons of honey.

Obviously you can switch around the mustard and honey, but definitely split the measurements of oil between the two, them mix them all up. It’ll take a bit to get the oil incorporated, and there will still be a sheen of it on the top, but it should mostly come together and stay together. This works well in a container just big enough for a chicken strip to fit in the bottom, again with a lid so that it can be stored until you’re ready to use it.

Coating the chicken in crumbs is a messy process. I usually set up a little assembly line with the plate of raw chicken to my left, the mustard mixture just to the right of that, then the crumbs, then a cookie sheet covered in greased tin foil. I use my left hand to pick up a chicken strip, roll it in the mustard mixture, and drop it into the crumbs.

Then use my right hand to toss crumbs over the strip, roll it to coat, and then place it on the cookie sheet.

This way I don’t get clumps of crumbs messing up the mustard mixture. My right hand ends up crusted in pistachios just as much as the chicken, but that’s okay.

Once all the strips are crusted, they’re ready to bake. The actual baking directions are a little weird on these, and I was skeptical the first time that I tried it, but it seems to work perfectly. Note that these work best on an airbake cookie sheet or a normal cookie sheet stacked on top of a jelly roll pan, though, as the bottoms can get burned if you aren’t careful. Anyway, the over should be preheated to 500 degrees, then turned down to 375 when you place the strips in the oven. They bake for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, the raspberry sauce.

This recipe is really flexible. You basically need raspberry jam, an acid, and a vinegar. I’ve used lime juice, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice as the acid, though the original called for orange juice. I’ve used rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, and red wine vinegar, though the original calls for white wine. They all turned out delicious, but I think that my favorite combo so far has been grapefruit juice and apple cider vinegar. Use whatever you have on hand. If you can find seedless raspberry jam, that works especially well, but if you don’t mind a little crunch from the seeds, preserves are fine.

In a small saucepan on low-medium heat, combine 1/4 cup raspberry jam with two tablespoons acid and two tablespoons vinegar, stirring occasionally.

It’ll take a little bit for the jam to melt down, but eventually it’ll all be one smooth (minus the seeds) liquid. Let it simmer a little bit, then cool for about five minutes while the chicken strips finish baking. You don’t want it to cool too much or it will start thickening up again.

When the chicken strips are ready, plate them and spoon a bit of raspberry sauce over them. Scrumptious!

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Strips

adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup shelled pistachios

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

2-4 chicken breasts, cut into 1″ wide strips

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and cover a cookie sheet with tin foil, lightly greasing with cooking spray. Finely chop the pistachios, allowing some larger chunks to remain for texture. Mix in a shallow container with breadcrumbs. In a separate container, mix olive oil, mustard, and honey. Coat each chicken strip in the mustard mixture, roll in bread crumb mixture, then place on cookie sheet. Turn down the oven to 375 degrees and bake for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and nuts are lightly toasted.Top with raspberry sauce.

Raspberry Sauce

adapted from Allrecipes

1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients over low-medium heat until jam has melted. Allow to simmer for about five minutes, then allow to cool for about five minutes before serving over chicken strips.

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Responses

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    http://www.organicpastures.com/shop.html

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  3. Having read this I thought it was really informative.
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