Cheddar-Crusted Chicken with Smooshy Applesauce
Homemade applesauce, served hot or cold, complements crunchy chicken cheddar cutlets.
- 5 McIntosh apples, peeled, quartered, cored and chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup apple cider (eyeball it)
- 3 rounded tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 1 cup salted mini pretzels
- 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 cup shredded or crumbled sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 large egg
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Salt, to taste
Pre-heat a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the apples, lemon juice, cider, brown sugar, ginger and cinnamon and stir. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushy, about 15 minutes. Remove the ginger.
While the applesauce is cooking, sprinkle a little water into each of four quart-size plastic storage bags. Place one chicken breast in each bag, push out the excess air and seal it up. Using a heavy-bottomed pot, pound each breast until evenly thin, just shy of busting out of the bag.
Place the pretzels, breadcrumbs, cheese, thyme, nutmeg and pepper in a food processor and pulse to grind until they’re the consistency of breadcrumbs. Transfer the ground pretzels and cheese to a shallow dish.
Crack the egg into a second shallow dish and lightly beat with a splash of water. Place some flour in a third dish. Coat the chicken first in flour, then egg and finally in cheese and pretzel crumbs.
In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat and add the coated chicken breasts. Cook in a single layer, 3-4 minutes on each side, until the juices run clear and the breading is evenly browned. Cut off a piece of a cutlet and taste, to see if you want to salt them a little. Serve the chicken with the applesauce.