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Fancy Enough for Company; Easy Enough for Every Day

April 24, 2009


Almond Crusted Chicken with Guava Rum Sauce

Originally uploaded by alfagee

This week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient (see “To be the Whole Package” for the details) is almonds. I’m heading out on vacation next week, and determined to use only ingredients on have on hand for meals between now and then. This really isn’t much of a hardship (except on the salad front), since I have a full chest-freezer and a bottomless pit of a pantry.

The end result of this latest culinary challenge is Almond Crusted Chicken with Guava Rum Sauce. Yes, it sounds fancy. Yes, it looks fancy. No, it’s not complicated. Nor does it use exotic ingredients, with the exception of guava paste. I find that in either a big, flat can or a little plastic-wrapped brick in the Latin Foods aisle of my local supermarket.

If you can’t find guava paste, you could substitute guava jelly. Or make a different sauce (orange marmalade, brandy, horseradish is tasty and easy). Or skip the sauce altogether. But don’t skip the chicken. It’s crunchy on the outside and moist and juicy on the inside.

Almond Crusted Chicken with Guava Rum Sauce

Serves 6-8

Chicken
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup egg substitute, or 3 egg whites, beaten
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped to rough crumbs (use the food processor; save your sanity)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt & pepper, to taste

Guava Rum Sauce
1 cup guava paste, chopped to 1/2 in. pieces
1 cup fat free chicken broth
1/4 cup dark rum
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. prepared white horseradish

Directions — Chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray, and set aside.
  2. Mix together chopped almonds and panko. Season with s&p, if you like.
  3. Set up breading stations: Flour (seasoned with s&p); egg wash; almond-panko mix.
  4. Lightly dredge chicken in flour, then egg. Finally, coat heavily with almond-panko mix. Press these crumbs down into the surface.
  5. Saute the breaded chicken in a large skillet coated with either olive oil spray or 1 tsp of olive oil, 2-3 minutes per side. You want to chicken to brown a little, but not cook through. Work in batches, if necessary; be sure to empty out any stray crumbs before starting the next batch — or they’ll burn.
  6. Place browned chicken on the prepared baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 160°.
  7. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle with guava rum sauce, and serve with mashed potatoes (they like the sauce, too).

Directions — Guava Rum Sauce

While the chicken is in the oven, start working on the sauce. It’ll take about 10 minutes to complete, and reheats beautifully.

  1. In a small saucepan add guava paste and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, then drop heat to low. Simmer and stir constantly to dissolve guava paste.
  2. When the guava paste is dissolved and the sauce has turned opaque, add rum, worcestershire, balsamic vinegar, and horseradish.  Continue simmering until sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes.
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