Sesame Chicken with Savory Pumpkin Bread Pudding and Glazed Carrots
Yields 8 servings
from Chef Bob Carter
1 tablespoon butter
1 leek, white part only, julienned
2 cups pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 ½ cups heavy cream
4 large eggs
5 cups cubed day-old bread such as baguette or challah
½ cup dried cranberries
2 ounces grated Gruyère
3 cups carrots, peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
4 French-cut chicken breasts, pounded to ¼-inch uniform thickness
Salt and pepper
2 cups sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make bread pudding, preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a 9×9×2-inch baking dish.
Add the butter to a heavy-bottomed sauté pan set over medium heat. Add leeks and cook until tender. Add cubed pumpkin and cook until tender. Add the thyme, ginger, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant. Cool completely.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk heavy cream and eggs to combine. Add the pumpkin mixture, bread, and cranberries to cream and egg mixture. Fold Gruyère cheese into bread mixture and spoon into baking dish. Bake for 20−30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.
While bread pudding is baking, prepare chicken and carrots.
For carrots, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch carrots for 2 minutes. Remove from water and set aside.
Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom of pan, add carrots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, honey, and parsley.
For chicken, cut each chicken breast in half.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Season chicken evenly with salt and pepper and then coat one side only of each piece with sesame seeds.
Add oil to the sauté pan and cook chicken, sesame seed side down, for 2 minutes. Turn over and finish cooking for 3−5 minutes, until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Let chicken rest on a warmed plate for 5 minutes. Serve with savory pumpkin bread pudding and roasted carrots.