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Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce

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Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce

Introduction

Imagine a dinner that combines the savory crunch of pretzels with tender, juicy chicken, all topped off with a rich, tangy cheddar-mustard sauce. This dish brings together these elements into a harmonious and delightful meal that is perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. The contrast of textures and flavors makes this a standout recipe that is sure to impress.

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Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups crushed pretzels
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying)

For the Cheddar-Mustard Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Steps

Step 1: Preparing the Chicken

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). This will ensure it’s ready to finish cooking the chicken after frying.
  2. Crush the Pretzels:
    • Place pretzels in a resealable plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin until they are finely ground but still have some texture. You can also use a food processor for this step. Transfer the crushed pretzels to a shallow dish.
  3. Prepare the Dredging Stations:
    • Flour Mixture: In a shallow dish, combine the all-purpose flour with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
    • Egg Mixture: In another shallow dish, whisk together the eggs and milk until well combined.
    • Crushed Pretzels: In a third shallow dish, place the crushed pretzels.
  4. Pound the Chicken:
    • Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch thick. This ensures even cooking.

Step 2: Coating the Chicken

  1. Dredge the Chicken:
    • Dredge each chicken breast in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking off any excess.
    • Dip the floured chicken breast into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off.
    • Finally, press the chicken breast into the crushed pretzels, ensuring an even coating on all sides. Press firmly so the pretzels adhere well.

Step 3: Frying the Chicken

  1. Heat the Oil:
    • In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of pretzel in; it should sizzle immediately.
  2. Fry the Chicken:
    • Carefully place the coated chicken breasts into the hot oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the crust is golden brown and crispy. Avoid overcrowding the pan; fry in batches if necessary.
  3. Transfer to Baking Sheet:
    • Once browned, transfer the chicken breasts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a wire rack. This helps keep the crust crispy.

Step 4: Baking the Chicken

  1. Bake:
    • Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C).

Step 5: Making the Cheddar-Mustard Sauce

  1. Melt the Butter:
    • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  2. Make the Roux:
    • Add the flour to the melted butter, whisking continuously to form a roux. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and lightly golden.
  3. Add the Milk:
    • Gradually whisk in the milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture is smooth and begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add the Cheese:
    • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Add the Mustard:
    • Stir in the Dijon mustard and whole grain mustard. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Step 6: Serving the Dish

  1. Plate the Chicken:
    • Transfer the baked chicken breasts to serving plates.
  2. Sauce the Chicken:
    • Drizzle the cheddar-mustard sauce over the chicken breasts. Alternatively, serve the sauce on the side for dipping.
  3. Garnish (Optional):
    • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color and added flavor.

Tips for Success

  1. Choosing the Right Pretzels:
    • Use salted pretzels for this recipe to add extra flavor. You can also experiment with different types of pretzels, such as honey mustard or garlic flavored, for a unique twist.
  2. Ensuring Crispy Chicken:
    • Make sure the oil is hot enough before adding the chicken to the skillet. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will absorb more oil and become greasy rather than crispy.
    • Fry the chicken in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, which can lower the oil temperature and prevent proper browning.
  3. Making the Sauce Smooth:
    • To avoid lumps in the sauce, whisk continuously while adding the milk to the roux. Adding the milk gradually helps in achieving a smooth consistency.
    • If the sauce becomes too thick, you can thin it out with a little more milk until you reach the desired consistency.
  4. Keeping the Chicken Warm:
    • If you need to keep the chicken warm while preparing the sauce or frying in batches, you can place it on a wire rack set over a baking sheet in a low oven (200°F/93°C).

Variations and Substitutions

  1. Spicy Pretzel Crusted Chicken:
    • Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to the egg mixture for a spicy kick.
  2. Gluten-Free Version:
    • Use gluten-free pretzels and a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend to make this dish suitable for those with gluten sensitivities.
  3. Different Cheeses:
    • While sharp cheddar is recommended for its robust flavor, you can experiment with other cheeses such as Gruyere, Monterey Jack, or even a smoky gouda for a different taste profile.

Side Dishes and Pairings

  1. Vegetables:
    • Serve with a side of roasted or steamed vegetables such as broccoli, green beans, or asparagus. The fresh vegetables provide a nice contrast to the rich chicken and sauce.
  2. Salads:
    • A crisp, refreshing salad with a light vinaigrette can balance the richness of the chicken. Consider a simple mixed greens salad or a tangy coleslaw.
  3. Starches:
    • Mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, or a light pasta dish can complement the flavors of the chicken and sauce without overwhelming the palate.

Conclusion

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar-Mustard Sauce is a delightful dish that combines the best of crunchy, tender, and creamy textures. The preparation process, while detailed, is straightforward and rewarding, resulting in a meal that is both comforting and impressive. Whether you’re cooking for your family or entertaining guests, this recipe is sure to become a favorite. Enjoy the delicious contrast of flavors and textures, and don’t be afraid to make it your own with the tips and variations provided. Happy cooking!

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Source: platingsandpairings.com

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Yield: 4

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Cheddar Mustard Sauce

Imagine a dinner that combines the savory crunch of pretzels with tender, juicy chicken, all topped off with a rich, tangy cheddar-mustard sauce. This dish brings together these elements into a harmonious and delightful meal that is perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. The contrast of textures and flavors makes this a standout recipe that is sure to impress.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless (skinless chicken breasts)
  • 1 5-ounce bag salted pretzels
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 eggs
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves (a generous handful, chopped)
  • 1/4 small red onion (finely chopped)

Instructions

  • Butterfly each of the chicken breasts, making a total of 4 thin chicken breasts. Then flatten with a mallet so that they are uniform in thickness, about 1/4″. 

  • Put the pretzels in a food processor and grind until fine. Put the crumbs in a shallow dish. Combine with paprika and season with salt and pepper. In another shallow dish, beat the eggs with a splash of water.

  • Preheat a large non-stick skillet with a 1/4-inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

  • One at a time, coat each chicken breast in the egg and then the ground pretzels.

  • Add the pretzel-coated chicken breasts to the hot oil. Cook in a single layer, in 2 batches if necessary, about 3 or 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.

  • Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, mustard, paprika and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Serve chicken breasts with a drizzle of cheddar-mustard sauce and a sprinkle of parsley and red onion.

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