Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breasts with Coconut Curry Sauce

I just finished a week of cooking classes, which means I will not be doing a lot of cooking today…in fact, I probably definitely will not do any cooking  at all today.  I’m kinda pooped…instead, I think I would rather write about the food I cooked this past week , and share the recipe for the entree, and a few tips from class… if that’s okay with you. And tonight? I think we will be heading out for dinner (important to support our local restaurants, you know).

At first glance, the ingredients list may appear a bit long, and the procedure somewhat involved, but I promise it’s actually much easier than it may look ( I say this after hearing  “the entree is two pages long!” from some of my students).

On the menu this week:

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breasts with Coconut Curry Sauce

I like all of the layers involved in this entree; you get to experience a little bit of everything.  Parmesan and crushed pistachios are mixed with fresh herbs to create a crisp, crust for the chicken, which sits atop a bed of multi grain angel hair pasta that is tossed with a mixture of sauteed vegetables and finished with a coconut curry sauce, infused with the essence of lemongrass and ginger root.

Here are a few plan ahead tips that will let you pull everything together easily:

2 days ahead: – Make the sauce

– Make the pistachio/cheese/herb mixture

8 hours ahead: -Prep vegetables

– cook pasta

4 hours ahead: – Place chicken in buttermilk

1 hour before your guests arrive:

-Prepare chicken through the step just prior to finishing in oven.

-Cook vegetables/pasta; reheat when ready to serve.

When your guests arrive, all you have to do is pop the chicken in the oven and slice when it’s done. Warm the sauce and pasta and you are all set.

Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breasts with Coconut Curry Sauce


1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

2 shallots, minced

2 blades lemongrass, chopped

3 (1/2-inch) piece, fresh ginger, thinly sliced

1 cup sweet white wine

2 cups chicken broth

2 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste

2 Tbsp. Chinese black bean chili sauce

1 (8-ounce) can coconut milk

½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pistachio-Crusted Chicken:
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 quart buttermilk
8 ounces salted shelled pistachios
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 large shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and julienned
1 pound asparagus, cleaned, blanched and julienned
1 cup julienned yellow squash
1 cup julienned zucchini squash
1 Tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. sweet and sour sauce
¼ tsp. sriracha chile paste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained, and rinsed in cold water

For the sauce: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of butter, the shallots, lemongrass, ginger slices and wine. Reduce to half. Add the broth, red curry paste and Chinese black bean chili sauce and reduce to half again. Add the coconut milk and reduce to half a third time. Remove from the heat and whisk the bits of butter into the sauce until all the butter has been incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. If you reheat, do not allow the sauce to boil or the butter will separate.

For the chicken: Cut the chicken breasts in half. With a meat mallet pound until ¼-inch thick and place in a nonreactive bowl. Pour the buttermilk over the chicken, cover, and let sit for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

In a food processor, place half of the pistachios, half of the Parmesan cheese, and half of the herbs. Pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat this step with the rest of the pistachios and combine with the other pistachio mixture.

Preheat the oven to 250˚.

For the noodles:Heat  the canola oil in a preheated wok; add the julienned vegetables and sauté for 1 minute. Add the sweet and sour sauce, sriracha chile paste and cooked angel hair pasta; mixing well.  Continue to cook until the noodles are just hot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place the flour in another bowl and season it with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat with a thin coating of canola oil. Remove one breast, shake off any excess buttermilk and dust the breast with flour on each side. Dip only one side of the chicken back in the buttermilk and press pistachios onto that side. Repeat that step with all of the chicken. Place the chicken in the sauté pan, pistachio side down, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Place in the oven to finish cooking for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove, let rest for 5 minutes and then slice to serve with the Coconut-Chile-Ginger Sauce and the prepared noodles.

6 servings


14 thoughts on “Pistachio Crusted Chicken Breasts with Coconut Curry Sauce”

  1. Yum, this sounds wonderful, Debi. Funny-I never think to encrust chicken breath with nuts. I always do that to fresh fish..
    Anyway, looks so good, and the curry sounds so tempting…

  2. My family all have a rather soft spot for pistachios – but I have never used them for something savoury. It sounds like I’m missing out!
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..Buttermilk Pancakes =-.

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