Pecan-Pesto Chicken

Prep Time: 1 Hour
Yields: 6 Servings

Pesto is usually made with chopped garden herbs, such as basil, blended with pine nuts and olive oil. In south Louisiana, pecans have been substituted for pine nuts to give this pesto Southern flair. Pesto is ideal as a pasta coating or pizza topping and can also be eaten on garlic bread.


6 boneless chicken breasts, skin-on
1/3 cup pecans
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
2/3 cup loosely-packed basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup diced shallots
1/2 cup sliced oyster mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. In a food processor, combine pecans, Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and basil leaves. Pulse 1-2 minutes or until mixture is well chopped and blended. With processor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture resembles paste. Do not over-process or basil will darken and appear unappetizing. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. NOTE: If stored in a glass jar and refrigerated, pesto will be good for about 2 weeks. Store in freezer if a longer holding time is desired. In a saute pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry. Season meat with salt and pepper then coat lightly in flour. Saute chicken, skin-side down, 3-5 minutes. Turn and continue to saute until skin is crispy. Remove from pan and place on cookie sheet in warm oven. In same pan, saute shallots, mushrooms and remaining garlic 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are wilted. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon flour and blend well. Whisk in white wine and chicken stock. Bring sauce to a low boil then reduce to simmer. Add 2 level tablespoons of prepared pecan-pesto sauce to pan along with heavy whipping cream. Whisk until blended. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. When ready to serve, place a small amount of sauce on bottom of 10-inch plate and top with chicken, skin-side up. Place additional sauce over edges of chicken as garnish. A bouquet of fresh basil leaves may be placed in the center for color. Serve alongside cooked pasta.