Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Simple Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

This chicken nugget recipe actually started with a recipe for fried pork tenderloin--a super popular dish here in Iowa. It was such a simple and delicious dish, that I decided to try the treatment on chicken. It immediately became my older son's absolute favorite dish. 

The recipe involves pounding the chicken with a meat tenderizer, which really tender chicken doesn't really need, but it does make the nuggets extra delicate and tasty. You may need to just try it and get a feel for what works for you.

This was actually the first time I made nuggets from this recipe. Usually, I fry up the fillets and we eat them on buns. We were having a Hot Ones party with friends (for those unfamiliar, you can click on the link, or just know it's a sort of challenge to eat 10 increasingly hot sauces while answering thoughtful questions), so I needed a lightly breaded chicken in relatively small pieces. These nuggets fit the bill perfectly. They're savory without being overly-seasoned OR overly breaded which is what generally occurs with store-bought nuggets.

At any rate, these are a delicious homemade chicken nugget. Give 'em a go.

Simple Chicken Nuggets

  • 2 pounds chicken breast meat
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base (or chicken bouillon)
  • 2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • vegetable or canola oil for frying
  • Mix the hot water and the chicken base/bouillon and pour into a large bowl.
  • Slice each chicken breast horizontally into two or three pieces/fillets.
  • Place slices between two layers of plastic wrap, and then with a meat tenderizer pound the chicken, only hitting each spot once on each. Take care to not tenderize too much. Turn the chicken over and do the same on the other side.
  • If a slice of chicken is already pretty thin, skip the pounding step.
  • Cut the thin/thinned chicken into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces. Place cut pieces into the bouillon liquid.
  • Working with about half a sleeve of crackers at a time, put the crackers into a gallon size zip top bag and roll with a rolling pin until the crackers are a relatively fine powder.
  • Pour the cracker powder (or some of it) into a bowl or dish where you can coat the chicken.
  • Set a wire cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet or line a baking sheet with paper towels.
  • Heat about an inch to inch and half of oil in shallow frying pan or cast iron skillet set over medium high heat. (Alternately, you can use a wok or other deep frying apparatus.)
  • While oil heats, start to coat the chicken pieces with the cracker dust. Set coated pieces on a plate until the oil is heated.
  • When oil is heated, fry as many pieces of chicken that will fit in the pan, leaving at least a quarter inch between pieces.
  • Fry until light golden brown and then using tongs or a fork, turn over to fry another minute or two until browned on the other side.
  • Remove cooked chicken pieces to the prepared wire rack or paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • Continue frying until all chicken has been fried. When finished, turn off the heat and  set oil aside to cool and then discard.

Makes about 2 dozen chicken nuggets.

This chicken breast is pretty thick, so I filleted it into 3 pieces.
Chicken should be about this thick.
Today I doubled the recipe for a Hot Ones party.
Pound chicken lightly with a meat tenderizer. 
It's easy to shred the chicken, so be cafeful.
Cut each pounded fillet into smaller pieces
Chicken pieces soaking in the chicken broth.
Crackers should be pulverized almost into a powder.
Toss the chicken in a bowl.
Breaded pieces can be set aside until all are breaded before frying.
I liked frying in this wok today.
This is the best way to drain the oil--a wire rack over a pan.
Tender, delicious chicken nuggets.

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