When Jamie's parents came to visit for Thanksgiving, they brought us a bottle of something wonderful... Bourbon Maple Syrup.
I'll just give you a minute to let the idea of that sink in. Amazing, right?
We tried it first on salmon, which was wonderful. And then on Berry Buttermilk Pancakes for breakfast last week. Awesome. And now in a dipping sauce for Pecan-Crusted Chicken. So delicious.
The pecan-crusted chicken is actually a surprisingly healthy dish, and what's great about it is getting a nice crunchy crust on the chicken without the calories of frying or a ton of breading.
We love sweet potatoes in this house, and always make them a little different, but when roasting them there's always olive oil, salt and pepper, and then whatever other seasonings I feel like. Sometimes a dash of paprika. Once in a while a sprinkling of nutmeg. This time I sprinkled them with pumpkin pie spice and a dash of cayenne, and they were amazing. Season them to your liking, though.
And the pancakes - well, I wouldn't call them health food with the butter and buttermilk in the batter - but they sure were yummy. Light and fluffy from the buttermilk with berries bursting throughout and only slightly sweetened, they were just what buttermilk pancakes should be.
And bourbon maple syrup on top? Well, that's just something you'll have to try now! And if you can't find any, I'm guessing you could dust off the bottle of bourbon in the back of the cupboard and mix some up with a little syrup.
You'll probably want to pour it on everything. Just not on your kid's pancakes.
Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 pounds)
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 egg whites (reserve yolks for another use)
- 2 tablespoons skim milk
- 1 cup raw, unsalted pecans
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons whole grain or stone ground mustard
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 4 tablespoons Bourbon Maple Syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- pinch cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Arrange the racks in the upper and lower two thirds of the oven. Line two baking sheets with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Place on one of the baking sheets. Drizzle potatoes with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the pumpkin pie spice and cayenne pepper.
Place potatoes on the lower rack in the oven and bake at 400 for 45 minutes, stirring once, until potatoes are fork tender with browned caramelized edges.
Meanwhile, butterfly the chicken breasts so you have six 4-ounce pieces. Rinse the chicken then pat dry with a paper towel. Place chicken on a large cutting board. Season each side with salt, pepper and coriander.
Lightly coat with the flour by sprinkling the flour over the chicken and turning to coat (or put the flour in a bowl and dip the chicken pieces in the flour, but flouring the chicken on the cutting board saves washing another bowl).
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk. Set aside.
Place the pecans in a food processor and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the bread crumbs and pulse a few times to combine. Pour into another shallow bowl.
Dip the floured chicken pieces in the egg white mixture, then coat with the pecan mixture. Place on the baking sheet. If you have any pecans left, just sprinkle them on top of the chicken.
Place chicken on the upper rack in the oven and bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and the pecan coating is brown and crispy. (Put the chicken in the oven after the potatoes have already baked for 20 minutes, so they can finish together.)
Meanwhile, whisk together the mustard, honey, syrup, water, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Divide between individual dipping bowls.
Serve chicken with the dipping sauce and the sweet potatoes.
Yields 6 servings.
Berry Buttermilk Pancakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup assorted berries (blueberries, raspberries, chopped strawberries, etc.), plus a few extra for garnish
- Bourbon Maple Syrup
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until combined but batter is still lumpy. Fold in the berries. Set batter aside to rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat your griddle to medium heat and cook the pancakes until golden brown. Top with the remaining berries and the Bourbon Maple Syrup.
Yields about 10 pancakes.