There is nothing like turning a classic cuisine staple into a pretty little, nutrient dense show stopper like this Cilantro Pecan Chicken. I'm a sucker for that kind of magic. Nutrient dense dishes are particularly conducive to these slick transformations because they allow for and revel in rich ingredients.
I adore biting into a fancy French dish and marveling over its complexities only to later realize that it is a classically simple preparation dressed up in a lavish sauce. This is one such recipe to tuck away for a moment when you want to both wow and nourish those at your table.
Cilantro pecan chicken ingredients
- 2 chicken legs and 2 chicken thighs, preferably from chickens raised on pasture
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup crisp pecans*
- 3 cloves garlic
- 8 tablespoons butter, preferably from cows raised on pasture
- ¼ cup onions, diced
- 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup crème fraiche
Cilantro pecan chicken method
- Place cilantro leaves, pecans, garlic, 4 tablespoons butter and spices into bowl of food processor and blend until the consistency of a smooth paste.
- Place 4 pats or 4 tablespoons butter along the center of your baking dish and place a piece of chicken on top of each butter pat.
- Lift the skin of each piece of chicken and cover the meat with 1-2 tablespoons cilantro paste. Pull the skin neatly back over the meat.
- Pour the white wine over the chicken.
- Cover and bake in an oven preheated to 400° for 45 minutes.
- Remove bake dish cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- When done, remove the chicken to a serving platter to rest.
- Use a spatula to scrape the contents of your baking pan to the remaining cilantro paste in the bowl of the food processor and add crème fraiche as well. Blend until smooth. Check the consistency of your sauce. If you want to thin it, consider adding small amounts of chicken broth until the desired consistency is reached.
- Plate the chicken and complete the presentation by topping with this velvety, green sauce. Enjoy!
“Crisp Pecans” refers to pecans that have been soaked (for 7-10 hours) and dehydrated. Raw nuts, seeds, legumes and pulses contain phytic acid, which can make their digestion more difficult for us and actually block our absorption of nutrients. Soaking the pecans will minimize their phytic acid content. You can read more about the why and how of preparing grains and nuts here.
This post was generously contributed by Monica Ford of Real Food Devotee. Monica's recipes will make your mouth water and your tummy purr. If you're lucky enough to live in Los Angeles, Real Food Devotee can make your life easier by delivering nutrient dense goodies directly to your door.
photo credit: An Eye Full Studio