Friday, July 31, 2015

Foodie Fridays - Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets and Honey Mustard

I've made a commitment, in an effort to both save money and eat more healthfully (no cheats), to cook all my meals at home unless I'm out of town and unable to do so. Which means taking time to make things I'd get at fast food or out of a freezer bag from scratch. It is worth the effort, in my book, because I know all real food is going into my food and the flavor can't be beat.

One of the things I've often been tempted to just buy is chicken nuggets. Unfortunately, most conventional nuggets out of the freezer section or at the fast food place are full of gluten, fillers, hydrogenated fats and tried in unstable polyunsaturated seed oils. No thank you. So this is my real food spin on a classic.

Chicken Nugget Ingredients
1-3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (depending on how many you want to serve - you'll get about 10 nuggets per breast)
1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
1 egg yolk with about half of the white
1 cup gluten-free flour blend
2 tbsp. seasoned salt
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. sage
1 tbsp. paprika
1 1/2 cups frying oil - I recommend lard or tallow, coconut oil and ghee (aka clarified butter) can work too

Honey Mustard Ingredients
1 tbsp. real mayonnaise
1 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. mustard
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Brine your chicken breast(s) in a saline (salt water) mixture while it thaws, about 30 min - 3 hours, or you can set it in brine in the fridge in the morning and it'll be ready to go come dinner. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry, then cut into nugget sized chunks. Set aside to prepare buttermilk mixture and dredging flour.

Mix buttermilk with egg yolk and white portion in a bowl, then add chicken chunks. In another shallow bowl or on a plate mix 1 cup of gluten free flour with seasonings.

In a large skillet place frying oil and turn to medium heat. You want the oil to be warmed up and ready to go as soon as your nuggets are.

Remove chicken from buttermilk and egg mixture a few pieces at a time and dredge in the seasoned flour. For a thicker breading you can moisten them again and take them for another tumble in the flour before frying. Set nuggets on wax paper or a drying rack until you've battered all your pieces. By now the oil in the pan should be well heated. You can fry up 6-10 pieces at a time. Flip them after about 5 mins to make sure both sides get really golden. The chicken will cook in about 10 min, less if your pieces are smaller. This is one of those recipes that's more art than science. Set the pieces on dry paper towel to rain excess oil.

Mix up your honey mustard dip by adding all the ingredients into a ramekin and whisking together with a fork. If you're serving more people you can make more dip in multiple ramekins. Or put ketchup out (a kid's favorite).

Serve warm and enjoy!

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