Monday, November 19, 2012

The Best Chicken Nuggets

My son likes to experiment with cooking which usually works out fine except when he tries inventive ways to make chocolate chip cookies. I've told him that it's hard to experiment when it comes to baking...chemical reactions of the ingredients are crucial, etc...but he's still on the hunt for the perfect cookie...sometime wasting expensive ingredients in the process.  He has had better results with other menu items with one of his best being homemade chicken nuggets. We've experimented with the process and we've come up with a winner. Daniel's high school water polo banquet was last week so we decided to bring our nuggets as our contribution to the potluck. Here's how we make them...described more as a process than an actual recipe.

Put chicken breasts, thighs or tenders in a food processor and pulse until chopped. You don't want to make ground chicken here. I used about 3 pounds of chicken, chopped in about 3 batches, which turned about about 50 nuggets.

I dumped about a cup of flour on a piece of foil and added a teaspoon each of Penzey's Mural of Flavor and Garlic Powder. I don't add any salt.

Next,  I used my immersion blender to scramble 5 eggs in a bowl and lined it up next to the flour mixture.

Then I dumped a cup of panko crumbs on another piece of foil. I ultimately ended up using about 3/4 of a 6 oz. box.

I put the chopped chicken in a bowl and line everything up in order on the counter: chicken, flour, egg, panko. Then I took a small bit of chicken, rolled it in the flour, dipped it in egg, and rolled it in panko. You want to be careful not to make the nuggets too big because it's harder for them to cook evenly.

I put the nuggets on a cookie tray treated with a coating of non-stick spray. Put the uncooked nuggets in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least an hour. This helps the nuggets keep their shape when cooking.

I cook my nuggets in a little fryer that I happen to have but they could easily be cooked in skillet with oil or even simply baked on the cookie tray. My fryer is little so I can only cook 4 or 5 nuggets at a time. If any nuggets are large, I have to check to make sure they are cooked through because the coating browns up quickly, sometimes before the nugget is properly cooked.

Here are the tasty little morsels. I put them in a glass pan and put them in a warm oven until we were ready to go to the banquet. For a dipping sauce, I mixed together some honey and regular mustard. They were a hit with the boys and were gobbled up in no time.

One of the mothers set up a a candy station, in school colors, with little bags to fill. All in all, a nice way to finish up the season. Daniel has one more year to go and he was voted captain for next season.

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