Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms

Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

When I think of nuts, my thoughts invariably wander to chunky chocolate brownies stuffed to the gills with nuts, asian stirfries featuring cashews or a simple snack of wasabi peanuts (my latest guilty pleasure). Not to mention peanut butter - a sandwich filling hero for kids around the world. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be making a nut butter from scratch though. 

But the Daring Kitchen clearly didn't pay attention to my wilder (or milder for that matter) dreams, because look what they confronted me with:

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

Say what? Not only did I have to make a nut butter from scratch but I had to find a way to use it in a recipe too? I'm not going to lie, my initial thought was "urgh" followed closely by "you've got to be kidding me". But, brave soul that I am (the things I do in the name of blogging...), I forged on. And who would've thought that making nut butter would turn out to be so easy? Throw the nuts into your food processor and blend blend blend. Easy as pie, and just as tasty.

Side-note: This particular application of nut butter (adding more water to form a cream) is sheer genius, resulting in a rich, creamy texture and taste without any dairy in sight. So if you're lactose intolerant, I got your back.

Chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Chicken with Pecan Cream and Mushrooms
Adapted from Cooking Light, October 2002
Serves 4 (generously)

1 tbsp olive oil
3 - 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 500g)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 large onion, finely sliced
150g oyster mushrooms, sliced
150g white button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup pecans (unsalted)
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage 
chopped pecans, to garnish (optional)

1. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large frying pan and brown the chicken on all sides. Turn heat down to medium-low, cover and steam for 10 - 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through but still moist. Remove, slice and set aside (keep warm).
2. Deglaze pan and add more oil if necessary before frying the onions and mushrooms until tender.
3. Make your pecan cream by processing the nuts until smooth using a food processor. When the nuts start to pull away from the sides and resemble a paste, add a cup of water and process again briefly to form a cream. Add salt to taste.
4. Add pecan cream to the mushrooms, along with the sage and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a minute or two or until reduced slightly.
5. Serve the mushroom cream over pasta of your choice (I used orzo) and top with sliced chicken. Garnish with nuts and serve warm.
    Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 353.6, Total fat 21.2 g, Saturated fat 2.3 g, Polyunsaturated fat 5.5 g, Monounsaturated fat 12.0 g, Cholesterol 72.5 mg, Sodium 90.1 mg, Potassium 559.3 mg, Total carbohydrate 8.3 g, Dietary fiber 3.8 g, Sugars 2.0 g, Protein 33.4 g

    Good source of: Niacin 78.7 %, Manganese 53.7 %, Vitamin B6 40.2 %, Selenium 37.9 %, Phosphorus 34.5 %, Copper 22.6 %


    Joanne on July 14, 2010 2:42 am said...

    I'm in love, I hope you realize. Not only does this have a nut butter IN IT. But it has a homemade nut butter IN IT. Bestill my heart.

    OohLookBel on July 14, 2010 2:43 am said...

    What a great recipe, and it looks delicious. The pecan butter could be used for all sorts of other things as well, and no dairy is a bonus!

    Valerie on July 14, 2010 3:27 am said...

    Words can't even begin to express how amazing this looks! Wow.

    nina on July 14, 2010 8:27 am said...

    A true Daring Baker Ambassador........this is so the right food for today's weather. Well done for stepping up to the challenge. I've got a challenge for you soon!

    Marisa on July 14, 2010 8:35 am said...

    Joanne - Yeah, I knew you were a big nut butter fan! You should give the homemade ones a whirl, it's a lot easier than it looks.

    OohLookBel - Definitely, I'm looking forward to explore nut butters some more in future!

    Valerie - Comments like yours make my day. :-)

    The Chef on July 14, 2010 8:37 am said...

    There is only one person more excited about me making this recipe than me...and that's my boyfriend! Neither of us can wait!

    LadyRaven on July 14, 2010 10:48 am said...

    I signed up to the Daring cook and daring baker thing but the site completely confused me so I havent done anything since then

    This looks really yummy

    Audax on July 14, 2010 11:28 am said...

    You sure can take wonderful photos they look so delicious and your excitement is infectious superb work on this challenge. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

    polkadotcupcake on July 14, 2010 12:04 pm said...

    I can't even begin to explain how happy this makes me .. As discussed, easy, interesting, impressive dishes? yes please! Well done YOU!!
    Now, can I come over for dinner, already?

    Cherine on July 14, 2010 12:17 pm said...

    This looks really good!

    shelley c. on July 14, 2010 1:56 pm said...

    YUM - your pecan chicken looks and sounds delicious! Your photos are beautiful and I am sure that that was quite a delicious meal. Great job with the challenge!!

    Jo on July 14, 2010 2:51 pm said...

    Great job and this dish sounds so creamy and delicious. Would have loved a taste of this.

    TaGa_Luto on July 14, 2010 3:51 pm said...

    You're so right about the creamy-ness of the nuts sans the milk. I'm not done w/ this challenge, now i have to add pecan butter to my to-do list. Good job!!!

    Chantel on July 14, 2010 5:00 pm said...

    Great job on the challenge! Looks great!

    Rochelle on July 14, 2010 5:07 pm said...

    Yum!! This looks great, and I would love to have a bite of it right about now :D

    Jenn on July 14, 2010 7:48 pm said...

    Gorgeous photo! I have to make that dish it looks so good!!

    Lisa on July 14, 2010 10:03 pm said...

    Really lovely, the suns not up yet and already I want pasta.

    Asha @ FSK on July 15, 2010 3:31 am said...

    Nut butters make great pasta sauces. I like your creation but why didn't you make chocolate nutty butter brownies??

    Cindy on July 15, 2010 5:38 am said...

    Looks good. I made your galette last night, will blog it later.

    Rose&Thorn on July 15, 2010 10:48 am said...

    What pure decadence! Nuts about this!!
    Your photos are really looking great, you managed to capture the succulence of the chicken perfectly - great use of light and background.

    Cook of the House on July 15, 2010 4:01 pm said...

    You take wonderful pictures! Great job!

    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella on July 15, 2010 4:19 pm said...

    Using it in a pasta sauce is so clever! I never thought of using one like that! :)

    Deeba PAB on July 20, 2010 6:46 pm said...

    This looks utterly gorgeous! WOW!!

    David and Stacy on July 21, 2010 12:57 pm said...

    The dish looks wonderful and we have no doubt tasted wonderful too. Well done!

    Did you have a fight with your Pecans? They seem to have escaped your bowl...

    Stay JOLLY!

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