Hazelnut Crusted Chicken with Stealth Coconut

The Primal chef responsible for this delicious recipe is the winner of the Primal Iron Chef Contest. With over 120 amazing coconut recipe submissions the competition was fierce. Honestly, just about any one of the recipes entered could have won. Needless to say, determining a winner was tough. My crew and I read every post, salivated over every photo and actually prepared a few of the shortlisted recipes. In the end the winner had to have a great coconut-inspired recipe, an engaging article and nice photos to boot. This one fit the bill on all accounts. Congrats to MDA reader Greg for winning this contest, and a HUGE thanks goes out to each and every person that contributed a recipe. Thanks again and Grok on!

Outside of being stranded on Gilligan’s Island, most Americans won’t ever come close to cooking with coconut, other than perhaps macaroons or cupcake frosting (<-how SAD). Well, we of the Grok tribe know that simply won’t do.

Coconut can be fresh and vibrant, producing amazingly versatile flavors and forms; a few of which, we?ll explore today. This dish, like so many Primal entrées, can get the knee-jerk “Huh? Eeeewww!” tandem response from our SAD brethren (Standard American Diet, for the uninitiated), even though once it hits their pie hole, they?ll really like it. So, it’s much better to just fly under the radar and go stealth on ’em, which we can do with ease.

And let’s face it, it’s kind of fun to sneak one past the SAD crowd now and again – the look on their faces when they learn what kind of yummy Brazilian style, bacon-wrapped chicken they’re munching on is priceless. I like to get all fancy and tell them it?s called “coração” in Portuguese and then look for that flicker of recognition- wait for it – “Why yes, it is just like the Spanish corazón – it means heart in Portuguese too!” Ahhh, that look, priceless, but I digress.

Today’s mission is twofold – devise a cunning coconut delivery mechanism that is both mmm-mmm good and mmm-mmm good for you, all the while, sneaking past the SAD defenses undetected. And for extra credit, take one of your wife’s recipes, tweak it to your liking (which is code for beat the SAD out of it + add your own mojo) and voila! Call it yours, while simultaneously denouncing any recollection of ever even tasting the SAD version of your creation (for the best defense, go for confused or appalled, but not both, unless you have previous community theater experience).

Let us begin.

Step 1

As some of you smart cookies may have already deduced, this dish will include coconut, hazelnuts and chicken. You can either forage for the hazelnuts, or go lazy daisy like me and forage off the store shelf. Either way, after securing your hazelnuts (~8oz), place them on a baking sheet at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-12 mins. Set timer, go outside and run some sprints.

Step 2

Remove the skins from the hazelnuts and set aside. For best results, think back to Jr. High and purple nurples (twist and squeeze).

Next, make multiple, smaller, asymmetrical versions of each hazelnut until a maximum particle diameter of 6,350,000 nanometers is reached using the stones below (or simply chop the nuts in the processor).

Step 3 – Skinny Minny the Chicken

It?s time to pound the chicken (no smirking kids). Choose your weapons, just end up with slabs of meat ¼-½? thick.

Step 4 – Crusty Crusty (Hold the Clown)

Combine ½ cup almond flour, ¼ cup coconut flour, 1 tsp each, salt and pepper. For the casual Grokster, feel free to substitute potato starch for the flours.

Prepare your egg bath (3-4 whisked eggs) in a shallow, wide dish.

In another dish, mix your 6,350,000 nanometer hazelnut particles with ¼ cup of almond flour and ¼ cup of coconut flour, plus ¼ cup of pulverized shredded coconut (these are regular coconut flakes that are given a ?beat down?, ground/chopped/pounded, just to make them harder to detect).

Dust your flattened chicken breast with the mix on the left, dunk in the egg wash and finally, sprinkle lovingly with the last mixture. As long as the wife isn?t home, I like to use the patented ?LeBron pregame rosin ritual?, otherwise, just press the mix into the chicken breast.

Step 5 ? Fire in the Hole!

Take ¾ cup clarified butter to medium heat, add chicken breasts. You want to brown the nuts and cook the flour a bit without drying out the chicken, about four minutes a side.

Step 6 – Artisan Mojo – Do Not Continue Reading if You Can?t Keep it a Secret!

Drum roll please …. And now, without further adieu, the big kahuna, the coup de grace, the world?s most amazing crusty chicken accompaniment – Artisan Mojo! If you’re an anti-dairy Grok, that’s fine, we all have one of those in the family, but be a good lad/lass and run off to the corner to drool, while the rest of us enjoy ourselves.

Whatchya Need:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup diced shallots (I like to double this)
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 Tbl each: Dijon mustard, Italian parsley, thyme
  • S&P

Whatchya Do: Heat the stock, wine & shallots, reduce in half, then add the crème fraiche and mustard, simmer some to thicken up a bit and finally, toss in the herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

This is so freakin’ good, 4 out of 5 of you will eat it cold out of the fridge in the morning. As for you, the other one, who just has to pop it in the microwave first, we know who you are, there?s no hiding.

If you want to go all coo-koo for coconut, add ¼ cup coconut milk with the crème fraiche. This is quite tasty, but harder to hide our beloved friend, senior coconut. Go for it, if you want to brazenly deceive your non-primal dinner patrons. If questioned, revisit the “confused/appalled” performance techniques described above and practice shaking your head side to side in disbelief (adding a little synchronized, rolling of the eyes is always a nice touch).

And there you have it- a Primal dinner entree that rocks the house and is so amazingly tasty that they’ll never know it’s good for them, much less plastered with coconut from all sides. This also makes great chicken nuggets for your little Groklets.

In addition to living the Primal lifestyle (and tirelessly barraging the Misses with an onslaught of Primal lifestyle conversion attempts), Greg Reeves owns Artisan Photography, which is a boutique photography studio in the Phoenix area, specializing in artistic family portraits and weddings.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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47 thoughts on “Hazelnut Crusted Chicken with Stealth Coconut”

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  1. I love the article and gorgeous pictures. Looks like a great recipe and adorable groklets

    1. This is amazing and we made it again tonight! We love it and so does our 14-month-old daughter! Great flavor and so good with or without the sauce. Cheers!

  2. The photos here are amazing, and it sure looks delicious! Congratulations on your new Vitamix Greg!

  3. love the purple nurple reference! In fact, the whole step by step process was funny…fun! I think this could lead to great ideas for a seedling cookbook for the kids…they’d love to beat chicken with a rock, or crush nuts, or whatever…

    1. That’s a stellar idea. I get my little ones to eat lots of veggies by playing with fire (all roads lead to the grill in this house) or simply letting them work the Cuisanart. The more they’re involved, the more likely they are to try it.

  4. Congratulations!

    Made a blog today to highlight the recipes we submitted if anyone is interested.


    1. Congrats to you and bummer for me, really was hoping to win 🙂 I do hope Mark decides to share some of the other great recipes, I’m sure there were many delicious ones to try!

    2. Yes, everyone should go check out MaMaMiA’s recipe. Her coconut onion rings were on the shortlist to win this contest. Very creative. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m looking forward to giving it a try. Thanks again for the submission.

      BTW – I’ll be contacting all Iron Chef Contestants. More than this great recipe from Greg should be featured on MDA and I’d like to see it happen. Stay tuned…

      1. Thanks for that Mark! It was nice to get a little recognition after all that work 🙂
        My recipe compared to this one is like a Honda next to a Lamborghini, haha.
        I will be too nervous to try something like this again because seeing this was pretty intimidating (pics and everything were magazine-like). However, I had fun and that’s all that matters.

        -Thank You-

      2. I know it’s over a year later, but I just stumbled across this. Where is the recipe for coconut onion rings located? I love onion rings, and I am tempted whenever I go out and see them on a menu. I’d love to find a primal recipe!

  5. Congrats Greg – looks like a great recipe! And the photos are superb, too!

    If anyone is interested in seeing our entry (Coconut Butter Blondies) it can be seen on flickr here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thefoodlovers/5045469226/

    We’ll be putting up the blog post sometime in the next week or so. Would love to see other people post their recipes, too! 🙂


  6. It does look great, but I was really looking for something really coconut inspired (something where coconut’s the star). Coconut Onion Rings sounds like something you’d see on Iron Chef… Creative, and highlights the secret ingredient.

    1. John-I really thought that would be impressive because I couldn’t find any gluten-free onion ring recipes…so I just made something up and they turned out pretty good:)
      And there was tons of coconut, sort of like having a little onion with your coconut, LOL 🙂

  7. Congrats Greg!

    Looking forward to trying your recipe.

    Mark – please do share some of the other recipes if you can – I love coconut, and would love to get some more ideas.

    More than happy for the two recipes I submitted to be shared – sorry I don’t blog, so no where to share on my own.



  8. This is a great looking recipe, congrats! I’m glad you’ll be sharing the recipes Mark, I’m going to put my submissions on my blog but I’d love to share them here as well. I can’t wait to see everyone else’s coconut creations!

  9. That is a great recipe, I’m trying it tonight. You think macadamia nuts could do if you don’t have hazelnuts?

  10. Thanks for the nice words everyone and glad you like the recipe. The best part was making the Misses wait until every last one was cooked before dinner- heh heh, turnabout is fun play.

    Can’t wait to see the rest of the recipes.

    My little Groklets are super excited about the blender too- “Can it crush trees and metal?”

  11. This is fantastic, Greg! Congratulations! Is that your son? Adorable.

    What an awesome contest! I hope that Mark makes all of the entries available somewhere – talk about a free bounty of recipes, complete with videos and witty commentary! Loving this!

  12. Diggin’ this recipe – version of one our staples. And…great job on the post! Love the kiddo (4 out of 5) flare at the end. Well done and congrats on the win! 🙂

  13. congragts, greg! can’t wait to try your recipe. this was such a fun contest!

    last night, i tried out my coconut milk ranch dressing submission on some folks other than my husband who aren’t primal and they loved it. they couldn’t believe 1.) it was made with coconut milk and 2.) how i ever thought to make it up.

  14. I would love to see this recipe written out as a recipe. As it is, it’s a fun contest entry but pretty useless to follow for cooking with all that extra detail and flash, and no clear lists and procedure. And I’m saying that it’s not appealing to cook this as I am right now, at the end of a 24-hour fast! Post a printable version?

    1. Printable recipes on this site would be awesome! I sent a request for this a few weeks ago to Mark as I think it would make this site so much better. This recipe is pretty basic breading wise though hunting for the measurements is never fun. I had to guess how much this would make and it worked well with 2lbs of sliced chicken breasts and tenderloins.

      I made this tonight with almonds as it’s what I had on hand and skipped on toasting them so it would be quicker and skipped the sauce as well. My everyone loved it and we’ll enjoy the leftovers! What’s funny to DH and I is it is close to a recipe that I would have made up myself though I never would have thought of the sauce. We’re out of raw milk so I had to skip on it though next time I make ‘breaded’ chicken I will try the sauce. I served it with a little bit of safflower mayo, as I was also cooking up roasted broccoli and carrot ‘fries’ from Elana’s Pantry and we always eat mayo with fries. Yum!

  15. Took me about an hour to pull off. And, as always with pan frying made a mess, one of the reasons I prefer to cook simple most days! Some of my hazelnuts were a bear to peel, some no problem at all. They did make a nice coating. Definitely should salt and pepper the pieces when frying. Don’t know if you did that or not. I found that the chicken cold the next day tasted quite a lot like KFC with extra breading 🙂 Other nuts will work fine, I often use Almond flour only for a coating, but double coating with egg is much thicker and may just be my new goto…when frying, mmmm…

  16. Tried this last night and though it took a little longer to make than we anticipated it was worth the effort. Though my daughter damned it with faint praise it didn’t stop her from taking two pieces of chicken when she loaded up her plate. And we made enough to have leftovers which will probably not last through the day today.

  17. Hi Mark:)
    I’m a newbie. Just doing research and seriously considering going primal. I’m tired of the carb roller coaster.
    So trying to get an idea of what PRIMALS eat!
    This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! However, isn’t it a bad idea to roast the nuts in 350 degrees? Doesn’t this spoil all the good oils in the nuts?
    Looking forward to your response. Thank you!

  18. holy chicken! both the husband and i LOVED this, but the kids, the kids! gobbled it down like i’ve never seen. awesome recipe. great as leftovers too!
    (btw, i subbed almonds for the hazelnuts because i already had them)

  19. Hi my loved one! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all vital infos. I¡¦d like to peer more posts like this .

  20. Not to hijack this thread but I could use some information on a local business that’s located near me in Tampa but can’t seem to find enough feedback. I just need a basic AC maintanence.They are named – Castellano Air Conditioning, 2206 1/2 N Armenia Ave, Tampa, Fl 33607-3414 -(813)877-6997

  21. We had this for dinner last night.It was very good.
    I didn’t know how many this recipe would feed but I guessed that I would need to use a quarter of the ingredients for a meal for two people and it worked out about right.
    Next time I will be a bit more careful with the meat frying – the nutty coating was a little bit too charred.
    We used turkey steaks.

    So thanks Greg.

  22. Looks amazing, I’d like to make this tonight. How much chicken does the recipe take, I can’t find it… got three hungry kids to feed, one of them is my husband. Thanks!!