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Tonight’s Cooking Experiment – “Southern Chicken Gets Drunk in Key West” (650 Calories)

8 Jun

Tonight’s Cooking Experiment – “Southern Chicken Gets Drunk in Key West” (650 Calories)

Tonight’s cooking experiment is a twist on two dishes I tasted in restaurants over the past year, Coconut Crusted Chicken and Pecan Crusted Catfish. My goal was to keep this meal under 550 calories,but I blew it when I introduced butter. Sorry there is no substitute for butter…just sayin.

This is a story of a Southern Chicken who spent his life being crusted over with bread crumbs and deep-fried. Eventually he moved to another neighborhood and started hanging out with the local ruffian Catfish, who introduced him to the exotic use of ground pecans. Eventually, the Chicken couldn’t get enough pecans and even dabbled with pan frying. After a particularly bad bender of doing pecans with his homie the catfish, they went on a road trip to Key West Florida. There they got really marinated with rum and experimented with toasted coconut. Like all bad friends, the Catfish  influenced the friendly chicken into a drunken, pecan and coconut obsessed fiend. But this was all too much for the catfish at this point and he split town, leaving the chicken alone in the frying pan, toasted and sauced.

Of course this was just a clever story telling how food from different cultures fuse when they interact.  This meal blends the fusion of a New Orleans dish with a popular key West Dish, together they are fantastic.


  • Raw Chicken Breasts
  • Pecans
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Coconut Rum (2 shots)
  • Golden Rum (2 shots)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Salted Butter
  • Toasted Coconut


1) Mix all four shots of the rum and 2 shots worth of water, brown sugar and vanilla extract and soak the chicken breast in the Alchohol bath for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

2) While the chicken soaks, grind the pecans in a food processor until you get fine grain to small chunks of pecans (to preference). Mix the ground pecans with toasted coconut in a 3 to 1 ratio of pecan to coconut.  Place the dry mixture on a flat plate.

3) Remove the chicken from the rum mixture and drip away excess rum. Then coat the chicken in the pecan/coconut mixture until there is a thick coat of the mixture on both sides.

4) Let the coated chicken rest for 3-5 minutes. While the chicken is resting, you can do some side work.  First, heat a stainless steel pan to medium high heat and place in a tablespoon of salted butter, let the butter melt and turn slightly brown.  Second, place the dried cranberries into the same rum bath that the chicken soaked in and microwave for 1 minute and then let sit on the hot stove.

5) Cook the chicken on one side for 5 minutes on med-high heat and then flip. Drizzle some of the rum mixture onto the top of the flipped chicken. Cook for 5 more minutes.  Flip and drizzle more rum sauce on the chicken.

Flip an additional time to dry off the rum from the coating. NOTE: Do not flip more than needed, otherwise the crust will come off.

6) Turn the heat to low and let the chicken finish cooking and remove chicken from the pan.

7) Turn up the heat to high, add 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt and brown slightly. Next carefully pour in Rum and Cranberry Mixture into the pan. Stand back as this could cause the rum to catch fire. I recommend keeping the pan still and centered over the flame while you pour the rum in. If you are outside you might want to use an aim a flame to start-up the fire for fun. Scrap the bottom of the pan with the spatula as the rum boils down and blends with the pan scrapping. The final result should be a thick sauce and hydrated cranberries.

8) Plate the chicken and pour equal parts of the sauce over the chicken and the plate.  Serve with something crunchy, I used flake pastries. I would avoid rice as it tends to suck up away the juices from the chicken and the plate.

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