Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chicken Nudges

Chicken Nudges

I have a few staples on my list that I make fairly regularly because I know they're good and they're simple to freeze and make later and still be 'fresh' enough my brain doesn't rebel against the idea of eating them. I should be less of a food snob but when I -have- to eat something repeatedly, I feel extremely depressed and my mood sinks. Food security is security for me. If I can find some way to eat something in the kitchen that I want and that appeals to me, I feel as if I can conquer the world. If not, I start to wonder what's next. A bit silly, I know but it's one of those ever so lovely quirks I have.

But one thing that I can make and have on hand and use in a million different ways is chicken nuggets. Now, I make them a bit bigger, but not full size tenders so that I can cut them up and use them in stirfry (which A adores) or I can dip them in whatever I have and so on. The possibilities are limitless. There are a few options on how to do this, but my basic recipe for GF chicken nudges is as follows.

Difficulty: Basic Basic
Time: About an hour
Mise en Place
  • Sheet Pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • 3 flat containers/bowls/etc
  • Deep fryer or pan deep enough to fry (Set at 360)
  • Frying oil (Canola/Peanut/Vegetable/etc)
  • Slotted metal spoon if using pan
  • Metal tongs
  • Gallon Plastic Ziplock 
  • Hand blender (optional) Whisk or fork also works, just not as well.
Ingredients

1-2 cups of Masa Harina (otherwise known as Corn Flour. It should be in your Hispanic/Mexican aisle in the grocery) or Sorghum flour
4-5 eggs/yolks/whites/some mixture therein (or egg replacement = w/water)
3 cups coconut flour (Optional) or GF bread crumbs
1 Tbsp each Paprika, Garlic Powder,
1 cup of pickle juice/buttermilk/ milk and vinegar (1cupmilk to 1 TBSP Vinegar)
2 lbs of Chicken


Preparation: Cut the chicken into the size pieces you want. Soak the chicken in the plastic bags along with the acid base (pickle juice/buttermilk) for about an hour before you need to start prepping.

It's really pretty basic. I make sure there are 3 flat bottomed bowls or tupperware that are big enough. I scramble all of my eggs with a hand blender since it makes sure there is no random proteins causing clumps of eggs that will then drop off. Then lay some parchment paper down on  a sheet pan that's small enough to go in your freezer. And yes, I have a tiny kitchen so things go where things fit. In this case, in front of the microwave. Though now, even it's been moved.


Once it's soaked enough, you grab them out of the bag with your left hand, this becomes your 'wet' hand. Drop a piece of chicken into the flour. Take  your right hand and coat the chicken, then -drop- it into the egg mixture. Coating it with your left hand then drop it into the crumb or coconut mixture. Coat again with the right hand and lay down on the parchment covered sheet pan. This method of dipping will keep your hands somewhat clean and mobile. Crusted fingers =/= yummy.

Fill the pan, then stick in the freezer for about 20 minutes until chicken is solid and crumb isn't going to just slide off. You can fry at this point or you can coat it all again for a second layer then freeze again but that's up to you. This is also the point to turn your deep fryer up to get it to heat up in time. If you're wanting to make this for long term use, ignore the deep fryer bit and let them freeze a bit more solidly and then you can just drop them into a CLEAN ziplock bag and use them like any other prepared fried chicken bag.

Once you've got enough crumb on your nuggets, it's time to turn up the heat. Dropping enough for one layer into your deep fryer basket (but no more), drop them into the ready oil (usually, this is when the green light is lit). Set your timer for 2 minutes. Then bring them out of the oil and shake the excess oil off before dropping them again for 2 more minutes. Repeat this a second and third time. By the time they are done, you should have cooked it for 6-7 minutes and have a deep golden brown like this:





The sauce is whatever you want to use. I made my own marinara for this shot. I've also taken and used hot wing sauce and bleu cheese dressing (Marzetti's is GF)





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