Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Pecans and Havarti

  • Yield: 4 servings


8-- skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 4 oz each), pounded flat
2ounces havarti cheese, cut into 4 thin slices
3/4cup pecan pieces, toasted, divided
2tablespoons butter, softened
1tablespoon butter (for sauteing)
1tablespoon canola oil
2teaspoons maple syrup
1/2teaspoon grated orange peel
1tablespoon all-purpose flour
2teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
1teaspoon salt, divided
1/4teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In small bowl mix 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons softened butter, maple syrup, orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Lay a small piece of wax paper on countertop and spoon butter mixture onto center, forming a log shape. Roll paper over butter mixture, shaping it into a smooth log. Refrigerate until needed. Set aside 2 tablespoons pecans to use as garnish. Place remaining pecans into food processor with flour and pulse until very finely chopped. Put remaining thyme into glass pie dish and add pecan flour mixture. Mix in remaining salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lay 4 chicken breast halves on counter and set 1 slice of havarti cheese on top of each one. Cover with another breast to form "sandwiches." Press the chicken into pie dish mixture, turning carefully to coat both sides well. In large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon butter and canola oil. As soon as butter is fully melted, lay chicken in pan to brown. Brown one side well before turning to brown other side, about 4 minutes. Once sufficiently browned, transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and put in oven to finish cooking. Bake until firm and done in the middle, about 15 minutes. Divide the chicken among 4 plates. Unwrap butter log and slice into disks. Top each chicken portion with 1 slice of butter, sprinkle with parsley and reserved toasted pecans. Serve immediately with brown rice and/or green vegetable.