This cider glazed grilled chicken tops a crisp Panzanella salad with apples and fennel for a quick weeknight dinner!
Sonoma Cider provided samples for use in this blog post; thoughts and options are my own.
I'm loving the fact that it is warm enough to grill now! I've been taking advantage of that as often as possible and have been working on several new grilling recipes, along with making many of my old favorites. This chicken is super tasty on its own so you could double the recipe and grill some extra to throw in salads during the week.
Several months ago I had the pleasure of meeting with the team from Sonoma Cider when they were in Chicago for a conference. I've always thought hard cider was a good alternative to beer, however, I have never found one that I really loved....until now that is!
What is Panzanella?
Traditional panzanella is a Tuscan salad of tomatoes and bread cubes soaked in dressing. Today, you'll see many variations on that salad but the common ingredient will be the bread cubes and some type of dressing. The idea was that it provided a way to use up slighlty stale bread. I prefer to toast the cubes as they hold up to dressing a bit better and this gives the salad a nice crunch.
Sonoma makes their cider from organic apples and then infuses it with various flavors. For this recipe, I used The Anvil cider, which is a bourbon flavored cider. I picked this one because I thought it would go well with the chicken, and it is the most commonly available variety. I find their cider to very crisp and clean tasting. Be sure to get a few extra bottles of cider to serve with dinner!
Cider Glazed Chicken with Fennel + Apple Panzanella Salad
For the chicken:
- 4 oz Sonoma Cider Anvil Hard Cider or other hard cider
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons shallots, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
- 8 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
For the salad:
- 1 cup sourdough bread cubes, toasted
- ⅓ cup julienned honey crisp apple
- ⅓ cup julienned fennel
- ⅓ cup shaved brussels sprouts
- 4 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Sonoma Anvil Hard Cider
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon dried mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Place bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir to coat. Toast for 15 – 20 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Combine cider, brown sugar, honey and mustard powder in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and stir in thyme, shallots, cracked pepper and butter. Cook 5-7 minutes until reduced by about half. Stir in butter and cool slightly.
- While the glaze is cooking, preheat grill to medium (350°F). Brush chicken with glaze, reserving the leftover glaze. Place chicken on the grill and cook 6 minutes; brush with remaining glaze and turn over. Cook an additional 6 minutes or until done.
- While the chicken is grilling, place bread cubes, apples, fennel, brussels sprouts and walnuts in a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, vinegar, cider, honey and dried mustard. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until fully blended. Pour onto apple fennel fixture and toss to coat. Let sit while the chicken finishes cooking.
- To serve, divide the salad mixture between two plates. Slice chicken and top salad mixture with chicken. Garnish with cracked black pepper.