My mom is not a big eater. She is perfectly content having salad for dinner most nights, and she sticks to small portion sizes when she eats anything else. I did not inherit my endless (and frighteningly insatiable) appetite from her.
But sometimes she surprises me, like when I told her that she could have the first taste of these Honey Dijon Chicken Cheesesteaks. I gave the test one to her, and then got excited when she seemed to really like it. I asked if I could have a bite, and it was like trying to take food from a wild animal. “WHAT? THIS ONE IS MINE!” Okay, Mom. I’ll just back away slowly now and wait for the next batch…
A few minutes later, I tried one, and I instantly understood. They’re the kind of sandwich that you just can’t share. You need every single bite to yourself.
It’s a good thing these are much easier to make than you’d think then, right?
In order to make the pretzel rolls without spending too much time, I use thawed-from-frozen bread dough that I mold into roll-shapes. I take baking soda and mix it with hot water, and then dip my bread into the solution for a few seconds. That’s how they get that chewy, crisp pretzel exterior.
I brush them with egg to get an extra dark crust, score the tops, and sprinkle them with salt and sesame seeds. (Back when I worked at Auntie Anne’s, sesame pretzels with sweet mustard dip were the most underrated pretzels around. Sesame+pretzel+honey mustard= da bomb. It’s a real fact.)
To finish the rolls, I bake them for about 15 minutes, until they’re deliciously brown. While I wait, I make the chicken. The sauce takes seconds to make, and the chicken gets quickly cooked in a skillet before being tossed in the honey dijon. Once the pretzel rolls are finished, I scoop the chicken in, place some provolone on top, and pop it back in the oven until the cheese melts. That’s it!
Drool… I’m drooling.
- 1 lb frozen bread dough, thawed according to instructions
- 1/4 cup baked baking soda (see note)
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Sesame seeds, to top, to taste
- Large grain salt, to top, to taste
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced as thin as possible
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 6–8 slices provolone cheese, cut into halves
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the bread dough into 6 pieces, depending on how large you’d like your rolls to be. Shape into cylinders and place on the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 20-30 minutes, or until nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the baked baking soda with 4 cups very hot water. Stir to dissolve. Carefully dip the rolls, one at a time, into the baking solution for 30 seconds, and then place back onto the prepared baking sheet. You may want to wear gloves to protect your hands from the heat and high pH level of the solution.
- Beat the egg with a teaspoon of water and brush over the tops of the rolls. Using a sharp knife, score the tops, cutting down to the center of the dough. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds, to taste.
- Bake rolls until browned on top and cooked through, about 22-25 minutes.
- While you wait for the rolls to bake, heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the sliced chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and then cook, stirring often, until white and cooked through. This cooking time varies depending on the thickness of your slices, but it should take between 2-5 minutes.
- Place the cooked chicken in a large bowl. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Pour the honey dijon mixture onto the chopped chicken and toss to coat.
- When the pretzel rolls have finished baking, slice them and stuff them with the honey mustard chicken. Top with provolone cheese and place back into the oven until the cheese melts and begins to brown. Serve immediately.
To make the baked baking soda, spread 1/2-1 cup of baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for an hour. The baked baking soda produces a more authentic pretzel crust without having to use lye. If you don’t want to bake your baking soda first and don’t mind a slightly lighter exterior, regular baking soda will work– just increase the amount used to 1/3 cup baking soda.
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