Pecan Crusted Nashville Hot Chicken

Submitted by:

American Pecan Council | Crystal Schlueter, Home On The Iron Range

Take Nashville Hot Kitchen up a notch by encrusting it in pecans! Serve alongside a pickled collard pesto and pimiento cheese if you’d like, for a delicious Southern spread.

Ingredients

  • Chicken Marinade
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup dill pickle brine
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (like Louisiana Hot Sauce or Crystal Louisiana’s Pure Hot Sauce)
  • 1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each), pounded to an even thickness
  • Pesto
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed collard greens, rinsed, trimmed of center ribs and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, green parts only, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dill pickles
  • 1/3 cup raw pecan pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle brine
  • 2 tablespoons pecan oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch coarsely ground black pepper
  • Chicken Coating
  • 1 cup raw pecan pieces, toasted
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • Cornbread Grits
  • 1 box (8.5 ounces) cornbread/muffin mix, baked according to package instructions and cooled
  • 1 cup reduced fat milk
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated and brought to room temperature
  • Pinch of salt and coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup pimientos*
  • Hot Oil
  • 1/2 cup pecan oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper (or more if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Dill pickle slices, as garnish

Instructions

  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a medium glass baking dish, whisk together the buttermilk, dill pickle brine, hot sauce, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, make the Pesto: Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add collard greens and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain well in a colander and let cool for 10 minutes. Add collard greens and remaing pesto ingredients to a food processor and pulse until a coarse puree comes together. Refrigerate until you are ready to bake the chicken.
  3. Chicken Coating: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a food processor, pulse pecans until they resemble the texture of panko breadcrumbs and pour into a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Place egg whites in a shallow bowl. Drain and discard chicken marinade. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Lightly dredge chicken in the flour, then into the egg whites and finally into the pecans, coating thoroughly. Spray the baking sheet lightly with cooking spray and place chicken on the pan. Spray tops lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, make the Cornbread Grits: Coarsely crumble the cornbread and add to a blender along with the milk and broth. Stir gently to moisten then blend until no lumps remain. Add to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until thickened like grits, stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar, salt and pepper until smooth. Fold in pimientos or piquillos.
  5. Make the hot Pecan Oil: In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients except honey until combined. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil mixture into a small bowl with the honey and set aside. Pour remaining oil into a small skillet and heat over medium for 2 to3 minutes or until heated through, whisking often.
  6. To plate: Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto around the outer edges of each of two serving plates. Spoon about 1 cup of grits in the center of each plate. Carefully place chicken in the oil. Spoon more oil on top. Place one piece of chicken over each plate of grits. Drizzle honey mixture over chicken, allowing any excess to drip over the edges. Garnish chicken with dill pickle slices. Yield: 2 servings

Tips:

  1. Pesto can be made up to a week ahead.
  2. To toast pecans, place in a single layer in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until fragrant. Shake pan often.
  3. Do not be tempted to just mix the honey right into the 1/2 cup of oil, as it will cause the spices to clump.
  4. If desired, use gluten free flour and gluten free cornbread mix; you may need to adjust the amount of liquid for the grits.

*Recipe note: You can substitute chopped roasted piquillo peppers for more flavor.

Nutrition facts

Calories

1070

Fat

67g

Sat Fat

12g

Sodium

1280mg

Carbs

71g

Fiber

7g

Protein

52g

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