Nutty Chicken Tenders with Orange-Ginger Sauce

Serves: 5 to 6

For the Chicken:
♦ 3 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
♦ 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
♦ white pepper and salt
♦ 3 large chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips

For the Dredge:
♦ 2 large eggs
♦ 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

For the Sauce:
♦ 3 tsp coconut oil
♦ 1 3″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
♦ 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
♦ 1/2 cup white wine, dry
♦ 2 to 2 1/2 cups orange juice; more as needed
♦ 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
♦ 2 to 3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
♦ 3 to 4 tbsp light brown sugar
♦ white pepper and salt, to taste
♦ fresh cilantro

Serving suggestions: quinoa, brown or white rice, couscous

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil; set aside.

Prepare the crust: In a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of the pepitas to create a “flour”. Remove 2 tbsp of the flour and set into a small bowl. Combine the coconut, salt and pepper, and remaining pepitas with the rest of the flour. Turn the contents of the bowl onto a large plate, and set aside.

Make the sauce: heat the coconut oil in a heavy sauté pan over medium heat – add the ginger and garlic, and cook until fragrant (about a minute). Carefully add the wine to deglaze the pan. Once the wine has nearly evaporated, add half of the orange juice and chicken broth. Allow to reduce by half, then add the remaining orange juice and broth, as well as the soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Allow to simmer over low heat. (Note – depending on how much sauce you like, the above recipe can easily be doubled!)

Prepare the chicken: Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs with the dijon mustard in a medium-sized bowl. Dredge the chicken strips in the egg mixture, and then coat with the coconut-pepita mixture.

Set the strips onto the pan, and bake for 25 minutes (or until cooked through). While the chicken is cooking, keep an eye on the sauce – you may need to add more liquid, depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce. If the sauce is done, simply remove it from the heat and keep warm (with a lid). When the chicken is done, remove from oven and allow to rest for a moment. Stir the reserved 2 tbsp of pepita flour into the sauce, to help it thicken. You may need to add a splash more of the orange juice.

Individually plate the chicken strips with the sauce, either on the side or spooned on top – serve immediately.

To read more about this dish and my musical pairing, click HERE.

3 thoughts on “Nutty Chicken Tenders with Orange-Ginger Sauce

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