Chicken Breasts with Butternut Squash and Candied Pecans

I love simple dishes like this. The chicken breast is "Milanese" style with maple walnut roasted squash, candied maple pecans and arugula[. The secret to this dish is to make sure the chicken is pounded really thinly to let the flavors of the herbs and nuts come through.]

Total Time:
2 hr
1 hr
1 hr

4 servings

  • The squash:
  • 1 medium (about 2 lb.) butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • Zest from 1 medium orange
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • The chicken:
  • 1 lb. white meat chicken cutlets or breasts, (about 4-5 cutlets), pounded thin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup Fisher® Pecan Halves, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • The maple glaze and candied pecans:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) Fisher® Pecan Halves
  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, if desired
  • 1/2 large lemon, cut into 4 wedges, if desired
  • 1 -2 bags (5 oz. each) arugula leaves
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.

  • Prepare the squash: Place the squash on a flat surface and split it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Cut each piece in half, lengthwise, again to form 4 smaller "wedges". Arrange flesh side up in a single layer on a tinfoil-lined baking sheet.

  • Cook the squash: Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat and immediately pour over the squash sections. Sprinkle the squash with salt, ginger, cloves and brown sugar. Pour a little water in the bottom of the baking sheet, cover the tray with aluminum foil, seal the edges tightly, and bake, undisturbed, for 35-40 minutes or until completely tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Remove from the oven. Carefully remove foil. Cool.

  • Make the maple glaze: In a small pot, combine the orange zest, red wine vinegar and the maple syrup. Simmer over medium heat 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

  • Candy the pecans: Heat the sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until it melts and browns, 5-10 minutes. Add in the walnuts and swirl coat with the sugar. Spoon the nuts onto a baking sheet with parchment pushing them apart with a fork, being careful not to touch them as the sugar will be very hot. Season with salt and let cool.

  • Prepare and cook the chicken cutlets: Season both sides of the chicken cutlets generously with oregano and salt. Put the eggs in one bowl and spread the breadcrumbs mixed with the ground pecans into a shallow bowl or cake pan. Dip each piece of chicken liberally in the egg (on both sides), shake off any excess egg and then coat the chicken with the walnut breadcrumbs. Shake any excess crumbs off each one. Arrange them on a baking sheet fitted with parchment.

  • Cook the chicken cutlets: Heat the canola oil in a large, oven-proof nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken cutlets to hot oil and cook in a single, 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Turn over and cook 5-7 additional minutes or until that side is golden brown. Place the pan in the oven and cook 5-8 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Remove from the oven.

  • Serve the dish: Arrange arugula, chicken, squash and candied pecans on a serving platter. Coat squash with some of the maple glaze. Top with the parsley leaves (if desired) and lemon wedges. Serve immediately.

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