Hazelnut Crusted Chicken Breasts, Mustard Sauce, Baby Pumpkin, Candle

Hazelnut Crusted Chicken Breasts

In my former life as a corporate chef, I made this chicken often in the fall/winter months when the new-crop local hazelnuts were available.  I think it’s excellent, not difficult to do and also would make an excellent main course when entertaining.  I’m fond of serving barley pilaf as a side dish.

Makes 6 Servings

6 boneless chicken breast halves, pounded out to make them an even thickness
½ cup unbleached flour
2 eggs
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cups fine fresh breadcrumbs (see below)
1 ½ cups toasted hazelnut,  finely chopped in a processor
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. canola oil

In a shallow glass dish, beat the eggs with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, combine the breadcrumbs and chopped hazelnuts. (You may not need all the crumbs, so start with half of them, adding more as needed; the unused crumbs can be frozen for another time). Place the flour onto a large piece of wax paper.

Wipe the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. Dip both sides into the flour, shaking off excess. Then dip into the eggs and then into the crumb mixture.

TIP: I like to do this ahead as I think it helps the coating to adhere better. I place a baking cooling rack inside a rimmed baking sheet, then place the chicken as it is coated onto the rack place in the fridge until I am ready to cook them.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and butter. When hot, add the chicken breasts and lightly brown on both sides. They will not be cooked through. Remove to an oiled rimmed baking sheet, placing in the oven until cooked through, checking by cutting into one to see if it is no longer pink.

TIP: You can brown the chicken, place it on the rimmed baking sheet up to l hour ahead then heat until cooked through in the oven.

While the chicken is baking in the oven, make the sauce.

For The Sauce:

¼ cup brandy
¼ cup minced shallots
1 cup chicken stock (see below)  or unsalted chicken broth
1 Tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
½ cup whipping cream
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Place the uncleaned skillet the chicken was browned in over medium heat until hot. Add the shallots, sauté until softened. Deglaze the pan with the brandy, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken stock and reduce down by half. Add the whipping cream and reduce until thickened to a sauce consistency. Turn the heat down to a simmer. Whisk in the mustard. Just before serving, add the lemon juice.

To serve, place a chicken breast half on each plate and top with some of the sauce.

Helpful link to Barley Pilaf.  And to Making Stock and for breadcrumbs Making Breadcrumbs.

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