Published with permission from The Big Book Of Healthy Cooking Oils by Lisa Howard
When we think of nuts, we usually think of peanuts or almonds or cashews, or maybe walnuts or pecans. Brazil nuts are probably the least thought of nut. That’s a shame because Brazil nuts are full of selenium, and they also have a very rich, buttery flavor. (It’s worth pointing out that Brazil nuts are also a common allergen, so always check with your guests before serving a dish with Brazil nuts.) Thanks to their lushness, the nut provides a creamy flavor that works beautifully in raw desserts and non-dairy ice cream. For an extra-decadent dessert, try dipping Brazil nuts in melted dark chocolate. Or use them in a savory recipe like this one.
Brazil Nut Pesto Chicken with Toasted Wild Rice and Coconut Oil
Makes 4 servings
¾ cup (120 g) wild rice
½ cup (43 g) unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups (480 ml) chicken broth
½ cup (120 ml) water
Coconut oil for cooking
10 cloves garlic, chopped
¾ cup (84 g) Brazil nuts, chopped
½ cup (12 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
Dash sea salt
1½ pounds (672 g) boneless skinless chicken breast, trimmed, cut into 1″ (2.5 cm-) thick strips
In a large skillet, place the rice over medium heat. Toast for 10 minutes, or until the wild rice is turning golden brown and is fragrant. Remove the rice to a cool plate. Add the coconut flakes to the same skillet and return to medium heat. Toast for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the skillet once or twice, or until the coconut is turning golden brown. Transfer the coconut to another cool plate.
In a medium pot, bring the broth and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the rice and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the grains have begun to swell and split and they’ve reached their desired tenderness. Drain well.
To make the pesto, in a large skillet, melt about 1 tablespoon (12 g) oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the garlic is beginning to turn golden brown. Transfer the garlic to a food processor. Add the nuts, basil and salt and process until well blended. (If the pesto looks dry, blend in a little more melted oil.)
In the same skillet, heat another tablespoonful (12 g) of oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, flipping the chicken occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the thickest piece is opaque all the way through when cut in half. Remove the chicken from the heat and toss with the pesto, toasted coconut and cooked rice. Serve immediately.
Leftover chicken can be refrigerated for 4 days. The basil will darken, but that won’t affect its flavor.
Also delicious: Almond Coconut Chicken Tenders