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 pounds )
1 ½ cups pecans, chopped very fine
3 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
¾ cup chopped dates
11-ounce bar goat cheese, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup maple syrup
1 ½ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pound each chicken breast half to even thickness all over (approx.½”). Set aside.
Create a breading station. Beat the eggs in a pie plate or shallow baking dish.
In another shallow dish, mix pecans, flour, brown sugar, and panko.
In a medium bowl, cream together the bacon, dates, and goat cheese.
Season the flattened chicken breasts (on the non-smooth side) with salt and pepper. Divide the goat cheese filling evenly among the chicken breasts and place in the center of each. Roll the ends over the filling and use toothpicks if needed to hold them together.
Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Dip each roll in the egg to coat, letting excess drip off. Then, press into the pecan mixture to adhere. Coat fully and then, gingerly, place in the hot pan. The nut crust is a little fragile so just take care when cooking them. Let cook about 1 minute per side and gingerly turn, so crust does not come off, until well browned on all sides. Chicken will not be cooked through. Place the browned rolls in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, seam side down 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 just 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.