Monday, December 4, 2006

Recipe the First: Fried Chicken Tenders

OK, you didn’t believe me when I said I can’t cook did you? This should convince you that I’m not lying…this was the first time in my life I’d ever fried a piece of chicken. For some reason I never thought I could do it. One big reason was I never wanted to mess with cutting and cleaning some nasty chicken. Blech! I’ve seen Mom & my grandma do it, and it is not a pretty sight. Lucky for me, they have those new-fangled already cut and cleaned chicken tenders right on my supermarket shelves. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they’ve had those for years, and I have shaked and baked my fair share of chicken tenders, but that’s not the same. Frying up chicken was scary.

My poor Mom is going to be so sorry she ever suggested this “try one recipe a week” thing because I called her three times during my chicken frying adventure! The first time was to see how much oil to put in the pan. Sandra Lee suggested I use a deep fryer OR fill a deep pot with oil. Well I don’t have either (is a deep pot the same thing as a saucepan?) and she didn’t tell me how much oil to use if I’m using a plain old skillet! These food network people don’t realize they have complete cooking idiots reading their books, do they? Anyway, when I call, Dad gets on the phone and I tell him I have a cooking question for Mom. While he is on the way to get Mom I proceed to tell him that I am attempting to fry chicken. Then I say “and I’ve never fried chicken in my life!” “KEL-lie” he says with such an air of disappointment and disbelief that I actually feel guilty because I’ve never fried chicken before! So, it is ON with me and the chicken now!

During our conversation, Mom tells me not only how much oil to use in my skillet (enough to cover one side of the tender) but warns me not to get the oil too hot or the outside will be done before the inside. Well now, how in the heck am I supposed to know how hot the oil is getting? So I guessed…

While the oil was heating up, I started the chicken dunking process. As luck would have it, I did not have the right ingredients…had to substitute Lowry’s season salt for the southwest marinade mix(don’t think I used enough) and corn flakes for bran flakes. Anyhow I managed to
get all my dunking bowls and bags together and ready with ease. The actual dunking…that was pretty gross. Cold,
wet, uncooked chicken is unappetizing in and of itself, but start dipping it in a mixture of raw egg and buttermilk then a flour mix, then back into the buttermilk/egg goo and once more dunk in corn flakes and it’s evenworse! Ending up with egg-buttermilk-flour-corn flake-chicken gunk all over my hands didn’t help.

post dunking

looking OK This is where things begin to go awry

Anyway, as you may have guessed the outside of my chicken got done before the inside! The inside turned out tender and juicy; the outside was crusty and nearly burnt. I said it was nearly burnt which means it was still edible. The inside WAS tender and juicy as I mentioned and I was able to scrape some of the burnt stuff off, so all was not lost. I faced the chicken, and I won, barely, but I still won! Kellie –1, Chicken - 1.

Finished product, w/ instant taters

Spiced Chicken Tenders
Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking
Vegetable oil
1/2c. All purpose flour
1/2 packed Southwest marinade mix, McCormick Grill Mates
Ground black pepper
3 cups corn bran cereal
1 egg lightly beaten
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 pound chicken breast tenders

Fill a fryer with oil to its maximum level or fill a deep pot no more than halfway with oil. Preheat oil in fryer or pot to 375 degrees.

In large re-sealable bag combine flour, marinade mix and pepper. Set aside. In another bag, add corn bran. Using a rolling pin, gently crush cereal to coarse ground crumbs. Set aside. In a shallow bowl, combine egg and buttermilk.

Soak chicken strips in buttermilk mixture. Toss a few strips at a time in seasoned flour mixture. Shake off excess flour and dip into buttermilk mixture again. Toss chicken in cereal crumbs to coat. Repeat with remaining chicken strips.

Fry chicken strips in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 6-7 min. per batch. Drain on paper towel. Serve warm w/dipping sauce.

*Note to self: remember to drain next time, turn more often, crush Cornflakes more completely, and use more of the seasoning salt (2tbs) if marinade mix unavailable


Scott and Jackie said...

YAAY!! Good for you Kell! Way to let those chickens have it! ;) Maybe tonight I can post a recipe for you! :) Love ya!

Bonnie D. said...

Cracking up! If it makes you feel any better, fried chicken is my nemesis! It has beaten me every time I've tried. I've given up and now leave it to those who seem to know what they're doing. Like the Colonel.