This recipe was inspired by a recipe that was featured in a food magazine article about a prominent NYC bakery/cafe. I remember the article because it was published one year before I moved to NY City. In the piece, the co-owner shared her recipe for mustard-baked chicken with a pretzel crust. I created my own version of this recipe, turning it into a snack made with a peanut butter-based marinade. I made the other half of the marinade into a sauce as well. The result was a memorably tasty, nutty version of the original. It’s now a classic recipe in my household.
Yield: 4 servings
10 ounces salted, hard, preferably handmade/artisan pretzels
½ pound skinless and boneless thick chicken breasts, cleaned and seasoned with fresh black pepper, sea salt, and cayenne pepper; depending on size, cut chicken into 2- to 3-inch pieces
1 cup Old Fashioned Smooth peanut butter
Juice of half a lemon
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup apple cider beer or apple cider, plus more as needed
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Place pretzels in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade. Repeatedly pulse the pretzels until the mixture is a crumbly mix of fine and coarse chunks. Place pretzel crumbs into a large shallow bowl.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, except the seasoned chicken breasts to make the peanut butter marinade. Divide in half into separate bowls.
4. Dredge chicken breasts in the first half of the peanut butter marinade and then in the pretzel crumbs. Place chicken breasts on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet.
5. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re completely done.
6. Serve chicken strips with the (unused) second half of the peanut butter marinade.