Thursday, 23 September 2010

Chicken a la Nueces de la India

This is a delicious and, despite the long recipe, fairly quick dish to put together. Pounding the chicken thin gives you lots of surface area for caramelization and to carry the nutty sauce. Ground cashews are called nueces de la India in Spanish, and Padma Lakshmi adapted this recipe from a friend from Mexico. Serve with fragrant rice, and greens for colour, sautéed or fresh.

Chicken a la Nueces de la India
(Cashew Chicken)
adapted from Padma Lakshmi
Tangy, Tart, Hot, and Sweet

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup flour for dusting, on a dinner plate
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup roasted unsalted cashews, puréed into powder
3 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup shallots, finely chopped
2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1½ cups chicken stock
3 Tbsp honey

Chicken:
Gently pound the chicken breasts into thin cutlets, about ½ inch thick.
Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet.
Lightly dredge the chicken in flour.
Sauté the chicken, a few at a time, until lightly golden on each side.
Set aside, covered, to keep warm.

Sauce:
Purée cashews in a food processor until powdered or finely ground. Set aside.
Heat the 3 Tbsp olive oil in another skillet. When hot, sauté shallots for 2 minutes. Add garlic, crushed red pepper, and thyme, and cook for 1-2 more minutes, just until shallots are glassy.
Pour in the chicken stock, Add honey and stir until this comes to a gentle bubbling boil.
Turn heat to medium low and add cashews, stir vigorously so lumps won't form. Turn to low and cook until the sauce becomes gravy or sauce-like in consistency. Season to taste. (If it becomes too thick, add more chicken stock.)
Return chicken to skillet on medium low just until heated through. Now pour sauce over chicken and serve hot.
Serves 6