Chicken and pecans go together nicely. It is a combination quite popular here in the South. I have seen variations of pecan chicken dishes on many menus throughout the years. This recipe came about after being inspired by a salad at a restaurant. I wanted to re-create the salad at home since my husband enjoys it and orders it often. When he said he would rather have one of my other salads, I decided to go with the nuggets sans salad.
I have made pecan chicken breasts before. The recipe is one I came up with as an adaption to the way I prepare turkey cutlets. It consists of a simple dipping of the meat into flour, egg, and breadcrumbs. The only difference is the addition of chopped pecans to the breadcrumbs. One other change is baking instead of frying. I wanted the nuggets to have the flavor of roasted pecans.
The next step was finding the right honey mustard sauce recipe. I searched the internet and came across several of them. I narrowed them down by ingredients (I wanted yellow mustard and not dijon). Some were as simple as mustard and honey mixed together and others included mayonnaise plus various spices and vinegars. What I wound up doing is going into the kitchen and winging it. I started with some mayo and added mustard and honey until it I thought it had the right balance. I added cider vinegar for a little tang. The result was exactly what I wanted.
Do you find yourself making things up as you cook? It is fun to put your own spin on a recipe or recipe concept. Having the ingredients and the end result in mind makes for creative cooking. It is an on-going journey and I cannot wait to see what I will explore next in the kitchen.
Baked Pecan Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
For the Pecan Chicken Nuggets:
- 1 pound chicken tenderloins
- Salt and pepper
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
For the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup prepared yellow mustard
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
For the Chicken Nuggets:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a cooling rack in a baking sheet and set aside.
Use three shallow containers. Place the flour in one, eggs in another, and pecans/breadcrumbs mixed together in the third one. Cut the chicken tenderloins into four pieces each (will be about 1-inch chunks). Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dip each chicken piece into the flour and shake off the excess. Dip each one in the egg mixture and then dredge into pecan/breadcrumb mixture to coat all over. Shake off the excess and place coated pieces on the rack in the baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the crust is golden. Serve warm with honey mustard dipping sauce.
For the Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce:
In a bowl, stir or whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey, and cider vinegar until smooth.
A recipe for easy homemade baked chicken nuggets with a pecan crust and a honey mustard dipping sauce.