Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chicken Tenders

I don't know how it is in your house, but in my house, Chicken Tenders (or fingers or nuggets or stars or whatever restaurants call them) are the entree of choice for Valiant and pretty high up there for Superman, Charming and Buttercup, too. Since we don't get to restaurants as much as they'd like, I've always wondered about making my own. Listen, I know many of you grew up with fried chicken being made in your kitchens with regularity, but I didn't. This stuff seems like Rocket Science to me. Anyway, I saw this recipe from Pioneer Woman Cooks and decided I'd be brave (the fact that she takes pictures of every little step encourages me to try new things). While I wouldn't say it was as easy as she says it is, I really thought these were easy to make. Like anything else, I know I'll get better at it as I do it. Since the family was thrilled and I wasn't scarred for life from the experience, this is definitely a keeper.

Chicken Tenders
Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 -4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts-sliced into strips (she went and bought already cut chicken tenders, I just pulled breast out of the freezer) Also, I used four because Charming is home from college for the summer...a family of four could have gotten by with two breasts. We had no leftovers and I used 4.

2 cups of buttermilk

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons Lawry's season salt (or any seasoning mixture you like - Johnny's, Mrs. Dash, whatever)

Cooking oil (I used Canola)

1) Soak your chicken strips in buttermilk for 30 minutes or so.

2) Add seasoning to flour and place in flat bowl.

3) Preheat about 1 inch of cooking oil in skillet. You want it hot but not so hot it will burn the coating before the chicken is done. Pioneer Woman says medium, but that didn't work for me...I needed to use high on my stove. [My oil was too cool for my first batch and all the breading slid off when I removed the chicken from the pan.]

4) Take chicken strips from buttermilk bath and let excess drip into buttermilk bowl, then put the chicken strip in the flour mixture and coat.

5) Set coated chicken strips into hot oil. Turn as needed to ensure even browning.

6) Drain on paper towels.

Serve with ranch dressing, ketchup, or whatever else your family likes.

Things I learned trying this recipe:

1) Get the oil hot enough to have the batter "attach" to your chicken pieces, otherwise it looks gross and the batter slides right off the pieces. (I think when you have Viking stove, medium is way hotter than what my little stove will do...) Oh, and I need tongs...

2) While Pioneer Woman might add buttermilk to her flour mixture, it didn't work for me. I ended up with huge clumps of flour and didn't stick to anything (and you wouldn't have wanted them to!).

3) My family just isn't that difficult to please.

So, which one of you is going to tell me how to do this better? What am I missing?


DarcyLee said...

I fry my chicken this way: I dip them in flour, then egg, then flour again. It gives the chicken a double layer of crunch.

momstheword said...

Beats me......! KFC? Just kidding. I usually dip mine in milk and you can put an egg in it.

Andrea said...

You are tempting me and making me hungry. I am trying not to eat fried foods (health reasons) anymore.
YUUMMMY..hope you guys enjoyed and ate one for me.
Blessings and prayers, andrea

Clark said...

Okay, I was hoping for some sort of wonderful words of wisdom on how to fry a chicken! This is a lot more difficult than it should be. Secrets anyone??????

momstheword said...

Really? I didn't know that. Has it always been like that? Sorry, I'll bet the MYHSM is a nightmare!

Fortunately I guess I don't do it to often. Least, I think I don't. Maybe I do, I dunno! Thanks for letting me know!

Beth in NC said...

They look delicious!

Anonymous said...

We make them using Italian Bread Crumbs...the kind you buy from the store that come in a round tube-thingy. They are awesome that way. Got the recipe from Oprah one day. The receipe called for dipping the chicken strips in plain yogurt (to get them wet) and then placing them in a ziplog that you filled with the bread crumbs, shaking the bag, and then BAKING them in the oven (just a tad too low calorie for me...LOL). I've made it easier by just cutting the chicken, putting them directly in the ziploc bag of crumbs (the chicken is usually wet enough to grab the crumbs without any added moisture), and then frying the strips in oil. I use Lawry's Seasoning Salt on them once they're in the pan frying, draining them on paper towels as I go. Ummmm ummmm good!