Pecan Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries and Cauliflower Mash
Chicken breasts are coated in crushed raw pecans mixed with flavorful spices for a quick and easy "breading" that provides a nice contrast to creamy sweet potatoes and cauliflower puree. My original intent for this recipe was a meal prep bowl, but sadly the pecan chicken doesn't reheat well in the microwave. The recipe easily scales up or down, though, so prepare just enough for what you'll immediately enjoy.
Position two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, then heat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
Start the Cauliflower Puree. Place the cauliflower florets, broth, salt and pepper into a 4-quart sauce pot. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, 15-20 minutes.
Prep the Sweet Potato Wedges. Toss the sweet potato wedges with the olive oil, paprika, salt, and pepper. Spread the wedges onto a baking sheet and transfer to the oven.
Prep the Pecan Chicken. Beat the egg in a wide bowl with one tablespoon of water. Place the pecans, salt, paprika, nutmeg, and ginger into a second wide bowl. Stir until well-combined. Pat the chicken dry. Dip the chicken into the egg, then place into the pecan mixture and press to adhere the pecans to each side. Transfer the chicken to a second parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake the Potatoes and Chicken. Transfer the baking sheets to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the sweet potato tray from the oven, flip the wedges, then return the sheet to the oven, rotating the positions of the baking sheets. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are crispy and caramelized around the edges and an instant read thermometer reaches 165°F when inserted into the thickest portion of the chicken. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
Finish the Cauliflower Puree. While the potatoes and chicken are baking, season and puree the cauliflower. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the steamed cauliflower to a food processor. Add the butter and cream (if using) and process until completely smooth. Add cooking liquid, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Portion the cauliflower puree onto the plates and top with the pecan chicken. Serve with a size of sweet potato fries. Enjoy immediately!