Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Pecans and Havarti
Havarti cheese is sandwiched between thin slices of chicken breast, breaded and baked, and served topped with a slice of herbed butter and a sprinkling of toasted pecan pieces.
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme - divided use
3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted - divided use
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon salt - divided use
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 ounces each)
2 ounces Havarti cheese, cut into 4 thin slices
1 tablespoon butter (for sautéing)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- In small bowl mix 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons softened butter, maple syrup, orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Lay a small piece of wax paper on counter top and spoon butter mixture onto center, forming a log shape. Roll paper over butter mixture, shaping it into a smooth log. Refrigerate until needed.
- Set aside 2 tablespoons pecans to use as garnish. Place remaining pecans into food processor with flour and pulse until very finely chopped.
- Put remaining thyme into glass pie dish and add pecan flour mixture. Mix in remaining salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Place chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet or hands to 1/4-inch thickness.
- Place 1 slice of Havarti cheese on top of 4 chicken breast halves and cover with another breast to form "sandwiches." Press the chicken into pecan flour mixture, turning carefully to coat both sides well.
- In large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon butter and canola oil. As soon as butter is fully melted, lay chicken in pan to brown. Brown one side well before turning to brown other side, about 4 minutes. Once sufficiently browned, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and put in oven to finish cooking.
- Bake until firm and done in the middle, about 15 minutes.
- Divide the chicken among 4 plates. Unwrap butter log and slice into disks. Top each chicken portion with 1 slice of butter, sprinkle with parsley and reserved toasted pecans. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe provided courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Used with permission.