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Crunchy Chicken Breasts with Pecans and Havarti

No recipe image available.Havarti cheese is sandwiched between thin slices of chicken breast, breaded and baked, and served topped with a slice of herbed butter and a sprinkling of toasted pecan pieces.

Recipe Ingredients:

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

Cooking Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. Lay a small piece of wax paper on counter top and spoon butter mixture onto center, forming a log shape. Roll paper over butter mixture, shaping it into a smooth log. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Set aside 2 tablespoons pecans to use as garnish. Place remaining pecans into food processor with flour and pulse until very finely chopped.
  4. Put remaining thyme into glass pie dish and add pecan flour mixture. Mix in remaining salt and pepper.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C).
  6. Place chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound them with a mallet or hands to 1/4-inch thickness.
  7. Place 1 slice of Havarti cheese on top of 4 chicken breast halves and cover with another breast to form "sandwiches." Press the chicken into pecan flour mixture, turning carefully to coat both sides well.
  8. 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.
  9. Bake until firm and done in the middle, about 15 minutes.
  10. 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.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe provided courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Used with permission.