Casual Comfort

A simple meal for wonderful everydays

During the shorter days of autumn, the early evening offers views of homes with golden light spilling out into the crisp air. Occasionally the glimpse reveals a dining table crowded with people. I love how warm and welcoming it looks.

I imagine friends and family gathered after the workday exchanging news and catching up on life. What would I serve that captures the ease of the occasion yet is out of the ordinary? Pecan chicken with honey-mustard sauce would surely fit the bill. It can be prepared quickly and simply. A menu that includes a salad and rice pilaf keeps things uncomplicated. And uncomplicated is just what I imagine for the folks I see as I pass by their window.

RECIPE: Pecan Chicken with Honey-Mustard Sauce

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons stone-ground mustard (for spreading on chicken breasts)
4 skinned, boned, and tenderized chicken breasts
1 cup pecan pieces, coarsely ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard (for sauce)
1/4 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

Spread 3 tablespoons mustard on each side of all 4 chicken breasts. Mix pecan pieces and cayenne pepper in shallow dish. Gently coat chicken with pecan mixture.

Heat butter and oil in large skillet until hot.  Add chicken; cook over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or just until browned. Place in buttered 11x7” baking dish. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until done.

While the chicken is baking, heat whipping cream in large skillet over medium-high heat until reduced by half (about 12 minutes). Stir in honey, 3 tablespoons mustard and salt. Serve sauce with chicken.

Serves 4.

Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. She teaches cooking classes at Orange Tree Imports and All Through the House in Stoughton. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to diningin@madisonmagazine.com.

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