Crispy Cashew Chicken w/ Cranberry-Port Sauce

 

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Boneless chicken breasts are a cook’s best friend and for this reason I always have a package in the freezer just waiting to be turned into dinner. Some weeks we may eat chicken every night of the week yet never tire of it because what is served on top creates variety. Neutral in flavor and incredibly versatile, they can be dressed up or down.  A simple sauce can take them in one of many directions. And as is the case with this recipe, the classic combination of poultry and cranberries takes on a whole new meaning with the addition of a few extra ingredients.

A bread coating is the quickest way to give a chicken breast some crunch. But when you add toasted and  chopped nuts to the breading mixture your results are extra crunchy and flavorful. And thanks to the addition of port, this cranberry sauce is anything but ordinary. If you are pressed for time, you can also make the cranberry port sauce ahead of time then simply reheat over low heat while the chicken breasts are cooking.

To complete the comfort factor of this dish I served it alongside oven roasted sweet potatoes and steamed greens.

CRISPY CASHEW CHICKEN w/ CRANBERRY-PORT SAUCE

For the sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 small shallot, minced

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup tawny port

1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallot and saute until soft and fragrant, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the cranberries and sugar and cook until the sugar has melted.
  • Add the chicken broth and port to the berries, turn the temperature to high and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. You want the flavors to meld and the cranberries to begin to break down slightly.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix the cornstarch into the cranberry mixture and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Turn the heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

For the chicken:

4 boneless-skinless chicken breasts halves, pounded flat

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup unseasoned bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup toasted cashews, chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Place the egg in a shallow dish.
  • In a separate shallow dish combine the breadcrumbs, sage, salt, pepper and cashews.
  • Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium high heat.
  • Dip the chicken into the egg then dredge in the crumb and nut mixture being sure to coat both sides of the breasts.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook for 4 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve topped with the cranberry sauce.

Serves 4

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