PECAN-CRUSTED CHICKEN STUFFED WITH BACON, DATES, AND GOAT CHEESE AND TOPPED WITH A MAPLE DIJON CREAM SAUCE

PECAN-CRUSTED CHICKEN STUFFED WITH BACON, DATES, AND GOAT CHEESE AND TOPPED WITH A MAPLE DIJON CREAM SAUCE

 

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (approx. 2.5-3 lbs.)

1 cup pecans, chopped fine

2 Tbs. flour

3 Tbs. brown sugar

3/4 cup bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

3/4 cup chopped dates

11oz. bar goat cheese, softened

3 Tbs. vegetable oil

2 Tbs. butter

 

Sauce:

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

 

Pound each chicken breast half to even thickness all over (approx.1/2”).  Set aside.

 

In a small, bowl mix pecans, flour and brown sugar. Spread this mixture on the counter and lay the pounded chicken breast on top of the nuts (top/smooth side down). Cover the chicken with saran wrap and lightly pound the chicken breast into the nut mixture and press adhere.  You want to pound enough to get the nuts to stick to the chicken.

 

In a medium bowl, cream together the bacon, dates, and goat cheese.

 

Divide the filling evenly among the chicken breasts (on no-nut side). To assemble, season the ‘inside’ of each pounded breast with salt and pepper.  Place a mound of filling in the center of the pounded breast and fold the breast in half to seal in the filling (use toothpicks if needed).

 

Heat oil and butter in large skillet over medium high heat.  Gingerly place each breast into the skillet, seam-side down.

 

Sear each side until lightly browned, turning them gently with tongs to keep the nuts from falling off. After each breast is evenly browned on all sides, place them, seam side down, in a 9" x 13" baking dish and sprinkle any remaining nuts and sugar on the top of the rolls, as well as any that may have fallen off during cooking.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

To make the sauce, mix the maple syrup, heavy cream, and Dijon in a small saucepan. Bring to a light boil over medium heat, reduce to low and continue to lightly boil, whisking occasionally for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is reduced by half and will coat the back of a spoon.

Serve one breast sliced into medallions and topped with the sauce.  I like rice pilaf and peas or a small green salad on the side.

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