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Orange-Curry Chicken with a Pecan Crust

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Serves six.

Dried cranberries and fresh ginger add unexpected zing to this pecan-cracker crust.

For the marinade and chicken:
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. minced orange zest
  • Juice (and any pulp) of 1 orange
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz. each)
For the coating:
  • 1-1/2 cups well-crushed cracker pieces (about 16 crackers)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 4-1/4 oz. (1 cup) finely chopped pecans
  • 4 Tbs. melted butter

For the marinade: In a small, dry sauté pan, warm the curry powder over medium heat until it perfumes the air, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat, add the butter, and stir until the butter is melted. In a nonreactive bowl, mix the curry butter, orange zest, juice, and yogurt. Rinse the breasts, pat them dry, and put them in the marinade, turning to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

For the coating: In large, shallow dish, combine the crackers, salt, cranberries, ginger, and pecans. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and toss to combine.

To coat and cook the chicken: Heat the oven to 450°F and butter a baking sheet or rack. Take a breast from the marinade with one hand--this is now your "wet" hand. Don't wipe off the marinade. Lay the chicken on the crumbs. Scoop and pat the crumbs over the breast using your other hand (your "dry" hand), patting until both sides are thoroughly coated. Put the breast on a buttered baking sheet or rack and repeat with the remaining breasts. Roast the chicken until it's crisp, browned, and cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Check after 15 minutes. If the chicken is getting too brown, reduce the heat to 400° and add 5 minutes to the total cooking time.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 510; Fat (g): fat g 30; Fat Calories (kcal): 270; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 9; Protein (g): protein g 38; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 24; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 780; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 120; Fiber (g): fiber g 3;

Photo: Ben Fink

This recipe was pretty good, but it lacked zip. I cut the chicken breasts into 2 cutlets each, and marinated them for 10 hours. I could taste the curry, but the orange didn't come through much. The crust was very delicious, but could use a bit more salt. I used saltines, and found that you need about 30 crackers (not 16) to make 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. I'll make it again, but I think I will add dijon mustard or garlic next time, and maybe substitute lemon juice for orange juice.

This chicken is super delicious. I made it for some friends and they loved it. The marinade makes for very moist chicken and the crumb coating is excellent.

I made this for a casual dinner party for 10 and it was terrific. I prepped the chicken prior to my guests arriving and put the baking pan in the fridge until it was time to put it in the oven. I also found that marinating the chicken for a good 8-10 hours allowed the flavors to better integrate into the chicken. I served it with the Rice Pilaf with Spiced Carmelized Onions, Orange, Cherry and Pistachios. Will definitely make again.

This dish is wonderful! The chicken stays so moist from the yogurt marinade and has a wonderful flavor. Just wondering if anyone has prepared this ahead of time. I am planning on making this for a dinner party and would like to know if it can be prepared ahead of time.

My wife's favorite chicken dish! A little work - but not too bad. All the recipes in this series are good - but this is our favorite (from my first copy of Fine Cooking - now I have quite a stack on the shelf after 10 years :-).

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