dinner

Sesame Pretzel Chicken with a Sweet Heat Sauce


Sesame Breaded Chicken with Sweet Heat Sauce

I am always looking for new things to use as ‘breading’ for poultry or pork and, in my pantry, I had just the fix.  When we went on vacation, I went a little crazy on the snack aisle, stocking up for the long plane ride and days on the beach. I happened to pick up sesame pretzels at Trader Joe’s thinking they were peanut butter pretzels on sale.  Wrong!  No matter, they turned out to be tasty.  With so many leftover though, I was looking for an innovative use and scored with a ‘breaded’ chicken dinner.  These pretzels were multi-grain and packed quite a crunch so I pulsed them in the food processor until they were mostly crumbs, leaving  a few larger pieces that aided in texture that resembled southern fried chicken.  To pair with the sesame flavor, I opted for an Asian inspired sauce made from mustard, honey, crushed red peppers flakes and rice wine vinegar.  Atop snow peas and mushrooms finished in sesame oil, this was a meal not soon forgotten.  Here’s the fix:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups sesame pretzel nuggets

3 tbsp sesame seeds

1 cup all purpose flour

1 egg

salt and pepper

Sauce:

1 tbsp whole grain mustard

2 tbsp dijon mustard

1/2 cup raw honey

3-4 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp red pepper flakes (less for less heat)

fresh cracked black pepper

Side:

canola oil

garlic clove

2 cups snow peas

5 baby bella mushrooms, quartered

sesame oil

toasted sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375° and start by using a basic breading technique for the chicken.  First set up your breading stations with one plate for the ground pretzels mixed with the sesame seeds, one plate for flour seasoned with s & p and one bowl for the egg (beaten).  When you are ready to go, pat the chicken breasts dry, season with salt and pepper and then start by dredging in the flour.  Shake excess flour off and pull the chicken breast through the beaten egg.  The last step is to lay the chicken breast in the pretzel mixture, pressing the crumbs over the entire surface on both sides.  I wanted to retain the crunch of the larger pretzels pieces and simplify this dinner so I transferred the chicken breasts to an lightly oiled baking dish and baked them off for about 25-30 minutes.

The rest of the meal came together easily.  All the sauce ingredients listed above go into a sauce pan on low heat and simmer away while the chicken cooks, stirring to help incorporate the honey with the mustard. About 5 minutes before the chicken is done, grab a sauté pan, add a little canola oil and a broken garlic clove. Over low to medium heat, add in the mushrooms and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the snow peas to gently warm.  To finish, add a touch of sesame oil (a little goes a long way), a pinch of red pepper flakes and top with toasted sesame seeds.  Plate the snow peas and mushrooms first, add the chicken on top and then smother in the sauce.  Yum!

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