Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Macadamia Nut Crusted Chicken

Dan picked a great recipe for us to try from our Chefs of Aloha: Favorite Recipes from the Top Chefs of Hawai'i cookbook - something I picked up at the Punaluu Bake Shop on the Big Island. It's a Macadamia Nut Chicken recipe, courtesy of Sam Choy.

We made it with just two large chicken breasts, but didn't bother adjusting any of the other ingredient volumes - so we had extra bread crumbs (which I stowed in the freezer for a later date), and lots of marmalade. The other major edit we did was to swap out the fresh fruits for some frozen mango and pineapple - and a lot less of it. We ended up with maybe a couple cups of fruit total, so I added about a half cup of water to the saucepan (due to the reduced amount of liquid that would've quickly seeped out of the fresh fruit) and it worked out great. After about an hour on the stove, I had a thick marmalade. One thing that we ran into problems with was the cooking time. Any time you do a mac nut crust, you have to adjust your protein so that it'll cook in the time it takes the mac nuts to brown - about 4 minutes on each side. I failed to pound out the chicken breasts, so they were nowhere near done by the time the mac nuts were starting to blacken. So I had to finish it off in the microwave to save the macnuts and get the chicken up to temperature. But in the end, it all worked out great and tasted delicious. Thankfully, the short time in the micro (about 4 minutes on 50% power) didn't dry out the chicken in the least.

We paired them with sweet potato roasted in the oven with some Hawaiian Alaea salt, and threw some shredded coconut on it just before it came out, so it toasted nicely.

Macadamia Nut Chicken Breasts
6 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
3/4 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs lightly beaten
2 Tbspn oil
1 Tbspn butter

1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbspn brown sugar
1 Tbpsn mirin
1 Tbpsn olive oil
1 tspn minced garlic
1 tspn minced ginger

2 cups diced fresh pineapple
3 cups diced fresh papaya
1/2 cup fresh cape gooseberries
6 Tbspn sugar
1/8 tspn prepared horseradish
1/8 tspn chopped fresh mint

Combine all marinade ingredients and blend well. Marinade chicken in marinade for 1 hour, turning occasionally. In a saucepan, combine all marmalade ingredients, except mint. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour our until the mixture reaches a jam consistency. Stir frequently to avoid scorching. Cool and fold in fresh mint.

Remove chicken from marinade and allow to drain. Combine mac nuts and bread crumbs. Dredge chicken in flour, dip in beaten eggs, and coat with mac nut mixture. In a heavy skillet, heat oil and butter over medium heat. Saute chicken for 6-8 minutes, turning once. Add a little more oil if necessary, since mac nuts may absorb oil. Serve with marmalade.

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