Here's a dish that achieves the fancy quotient for company, but is easy and quick enough for a weeknight family dinner.
We've enjoyed both components of this separately. The chicken is adapted from a recipe my husband saw on a TV show several years ago. With a nice crunchy coating of pecans, it's good all by itself.
The maple reduction (that's just a fancy word for cooking a liquid or sauce at high heat until it boils down to a thicker consistency, intensifying the flavor), is adapted from a recipe I use over the holidays as a glaze on root vegetables.
I've made it a little spicier, to stand up to the bolder flavor of the chicken.
You could follow the same recipe with bone-in chicken if you wish, just adjust the cooking times.
1 to 1 and one-quarter pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Three-quarters cup pecans, chopped fine
One-half cup bread crumbs
One-quarter cup flour
One-quarter cup milk
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut chicken into pieces that are about 3 or 4 inches long by 2 inches wide, and about one-half-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Combine milk and egg into a shallow dish. Combine chopped pecans, bread crumbs and flour in a pie plate. Dip seasoned chicken into egg mixture, then dredge in pecan mixture on both sides.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan and then cook chicken for a couple minutes on each side.
Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish and arrange cooked chicken pieces in a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear when poked with a fork or knife.
One-quarter cup butter
One-half cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons sweet/hot mustard
1 teaspoon horseradish
One-eighth teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Fresh ground black pepper
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. When melted, add remaining ingredients. Raise heat and cook until boiling, stirring occasionally. Boil for about five to 10 minutes, allowing liquid to reduce to about half. Watch carefully, stir often and make sure it doesn't burn.
Plate the chicken and drizzle the reduction over top and serve.For more Comfort & Joy recipes, go to www.tnonline.com/lifestyle/comfort-and-joy.