Have you started fall cooking yet? I'm always sad when summer is over, but I have to admit that I love fall cooking. Apple, maple, pecans, butternut squash, pumpkin: these are some of my favorite things to cook with in the fall. I started in earnest this past week. In the same day, I made this dish with apple and pecans, I made a Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus, and we had roasted butternut squash with dinner. So yummy! I didn't have this dinner on my meal plan; I realized that morning that I had forgotten a key ingredient for the recipe I had planned that day. Oops! I really didn't feel like running to the store (I am lazy), so I decided to come up with something that I could make using stuff I already had. I keep my pantry pretty well-stocked. I had some chicken, so I knew it would be a chicken dish. I had recently stocked up on pecans as well, so I looked around for a chicken recipe that included pecans. I found Toasted Pecan Chicken at Plain Chicken and thought it sounded amazing. I ended up changing it quite a bit, though. Here's what I came up with.
Chicken with Apple Pecan Gravy
¾ cup pecans, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 chicken breast cutlets
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
Toast chopped pecans in a large dry skillet until fragrant. Remove from skillet and set aside. Heat oil in same skillet. Season chicken with salt and place in the hot skillet. Cook chicken until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and cover with foil.
Melt butter in skillet. Stir in flour and cook for a minute or so. Slowly whisk in the apple cider, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Whisk in the chicken stock and bring mixture to a boil. Once it has thickened, turn heat down to low and stir in the pecans. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if desired.
To serve, place chicken on plate and top with the apple pecan gravy.
Makes 4 servings.
So the original recipe called for orange marmalade and a ton of heavy whipping cream. I'm sure it's delicious, but I needed it to be dairy and lactose-free for my daughter and myself. (I know it's not technically dairy-free since it contains butter. My daughter can handle butter, but not cream.) So I decided to thicken the gravy using a roux instead. Her recipe also called for the sweetness of the gravy to be provided by orange marmalade. I did have orange marmalade, but since I was in my fall cooking frame of mind, I wanted to use apple instead. I didn't have any apple jelly, so I cut the chicken stock with apple cider instead. It was just perfect. Just a hint of apple-y sweetness.
Brown rice just seemed to go with this meal perfectly with its delightfully nutty flavor, but you could serve it with potatoes or pasta as well. I served it with roasted butternut squash, and it was just the most perfect fall meal ever. My girls and husband all loved it.
Keep your eye out for the recipe for the Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus. It was amazing!