I was reading a trashy novel, and one of the main characters was making ‘pretzel crusted chicken with cheddar cheese mustard sauce, topped with chopped onion and dill pickle.”
It all sounded too tasty to pass up, so I went on to da google to see what I could find.
It turned out to be a Rachael Ray recipe, and I thought it would make for a nice accompaniment to Èpinard Maude.
Practically perfect, as it turned out, I didn’t even change that much of the original recipe; just used Hennings aged white Cheddar in place of the yellow Cheddar called for, and, of course, upped the seasonings to suit our tastes – with Sherry Peppers Sauce and Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce. Feel free to season as you like, mebbe, as with the Èpinard, using decent sherry (or beer!) in place of the Sherry Peppers, and then adding any other seasonings you prefer.
•2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
•2 tbsp butter
•2 tbsp flour
•2 cups milk
•2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
•3 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce (or your fave hot sauce, to taste)
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
•5 oz pretzels
•1 tsp dried thyme
•1 small sweet onion, diced
•1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
•1/4 cup chopped dill pickle
Note: I only made two pieces of chicken because, well, we didn’t need four, and would be traveling. You could also swap out the boneless, skinless chicken breasts for thighs.
Place each chicken piece in its own quart sized zipper bag, then seal the bag, pushing out any extra air.
Using the flat size of a meat mallet, pound out the chicken until you have a thin paillard that just about reaches to the side of the bag.
Repeat with the remaining chicken, then stash the bags in the fridge while you put the rest of dinner together.
Ms. Ray suggests grinding the pretzels in a food processor or blender until finely crushed, but my processor wasn’t doing the job that day, so I grabbed a gallon sized zipper bag, by trusty rolling pin, and finished the job the old fashioned way, then added the dried thyme, and tossed to mix really well.
Worked a treat.
Chicken chilling and pretzels crushed, let’s put the topping together before starting the sauce by tossing the diced onion together with the pickle and parsley until nicely mixed. Transfer to a jar and stash in the fridge until needed. Slice the lemon and do the same.
Melt the butter in a two quart sauce pan over medium heat, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and slightly browned, about one minute.
Whisk in the milk, about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking until smooth before adding more milk, and cook until the milk begins to bubble.
Reduce the heat to low, then add the mustard and the Cheddar, stirring until the cheese is melted.
Give it a taste.
It was good, but I thought it needed a little sumpin’ sumpin’ so added seasoned salt, pepper, the Sherry Peppers, and Cajun Power sauces.
Much more better.
Keep the sauce warm on the back of the stove while you finish the chicken.
Whisk the egg together with a couple of tablespoons of water in a shallow bowl, and add the pretzels to another shallow bowl.
Remove the chicken from the zipper bags (discard the bags) and dip first in the egg and water mixture, turning to coat both sides well, then in the pretzels, turning and pressing into the pretzels to get the coating to stick.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of veggie oil (peanut oil works a treat here, too, but I know – allergies) in a large pan or skillet over medium high heat until hot, then add the chicken, mebbe two pieces at a time, you don’t want to crowd the chicken.
Cook the chicken for four minutes, then flip and cook for another three or four minutes, until cooked through.
Transfer the chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate to drain off any excess oil, and keep warm while cooking any remaining chicken.
To serve, ladle the warm mustard and cheese sauce over the chicken, then top with the onion, pickle and parsley topping.
Proved lemon wedges for folk to squeeze over their plate, if they like.
Really good! And, truly, not too, too much trouble to put together.
If you don’t want to bother with the mustard sauce, think about the onion, pickle, and parsley topping, along with some good mayonnaise, with the chicken on a sammich.