Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Walnut Crusted Chicken Breast – It’s all About the Nut Glue

I almost never order a nut-crusted entrée in a restaurant, since they usually use a sugary glaze to hold them on, and/or feature a too sweet nut, like pecan, or macadamia. That’s not an issue here; since we’re going with buttery, subtly bitter walnuts, held on with a very savory “nut glue,” made with a garlic and mustard base.

I like this approach so much better, especially since it allows me to do a little bit of a sweet pan sauce, featuring honey, which is a classic pairing with both walnuts and mustard. Above and beyond the ingredients in your nut crust, the protection this layer of deliciousness provides can actually make a boneless, skinless chicken breast seem like it was just carved off a freshly roasted carcass. As long as you don’t overcook it, that is.

I caused a little stir on Twitter yesterday, when I said (in so many words) that you don’t need to cook chicken breast to 165 F. internal temperatures, as the FDA would like you too. I said, accurately I believe, that 150 F. is plenty hot enough, as long as it holds the temperature for at least five minutes. I think it’s so much better that way, but I’ll leave that up to you, and your probe thermometer. Regardless of how long you cook it, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 2 Servings:
For the “nut glue:”
4-6 cloves finely crushed garlic
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
For the rest:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 ounces each)
salt, freshly ground black pepper, and cayenne to taste
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
For the pan sauce:
all the pan drippings
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey

- Roast for 25 minutes at 375 F., or until an internal temp of 150 F.


Dimitris99 said...

Chef I have walnut allergy , what could I use as a substitute .

Dimitris99 said...

Chef I have walnut allergy what could I use as a substitute ?Thanks for the recipe

Lupe said...

J. Kenji López-Alt wrote this table:

Temperature Time
136°F (58°C) 68.4 minutes
140°F (60°C) 27.5 minutes
145°F (63°C) 9.2 minutes
150°F (66°C) 2.8 minutes
155°F (68°C) 47.7 seconds
160°F (71°C) 14.8 seconds
165°F (74°C) Instant

The table is based on USDA data. Alas, the link in Serious Eats page is stale.

So frying chicken for five minutes at core temp 150°F is safe. And 165°F is "speed of light" for chicken. While in this case, you can go higher, you don't need to.

Thanondorf said...

Just made this. I didn't add any fresh herb to the "nut glue" so I don't know how big a factor that was, but the chicken tasted veeery garlicky, and I only used 2 cloves per chicken breast. Like the main taste I got from it was garlic which wasn't really as pleasant. Any tips to mellow down that garlic flavor?

TexasArmadillo said...

That was pretty tasty. I replaced the walnuts with pecans because I had those and the chicken breast with thighs because I had those. The mustard nut butter was perfect and the honey does cut through the sharpness of the mustard. It was a nice quick weekday meal.

TexasArmadillo said...

That was a tasty dish and perfect for the weekday. I replaces the chicken breast with thighs and walnuts with pecans; mainly because I had both. The honey did cut the sharpness of the mustard down and the nut butter was a perfect complement to the chicken. I'll be putting this one in my Rolodex.

Winddove said...

This recipe - as soon as I seen it - I could taste it! I just had to make it and yes, it's devine! My new favorite! I am picky with how Chicken Breast is made. So many recipes taste like bonafide seasoned rubber bands - so I'm always on the look-out for something that has flavors that blend well with the Chicken! This one is a winner! Delicious! Thank you! Thank you!

Mrsbrite said...

I'm kinda new to your site. I see things I want to try but only some posts have a link to the complete recipe. I like to print out the instructions and have it near while I'm cooking.

Enrico, With my two best friends said...

Where can I get that cutting board??


Bill said...

Blogger Thanondorf said...
"... the chicken tasted veeery garlicky, ... Any tips to mellow down that garlic flavor?"

Maybe temper the minced garlic in vinegar or lemon juice for a few minutes?
And then drain and pastify it. I don't what that would do to the stickiness, though.

Art P said...

I'm allergic to walnuts, fowl, anything derived from bees, lactose intolerant and eat gluten free and course pepper makes me sneeze, not to mention cayenne. I'm good with peanuts though.

How can I substitute?

Anonymous said...

would love to try this chicken recipe looks so yummy!