Monday, July 29, 2013

busy mondays (recipe: homemade chicken nuggets)

Mondays seemed to be the busiest days when I was younger.  I had school until 3:30 in the afternoon and once home my sister and I had a snack and hit the books immediately.  Around a quarter to five, we got dressed for our dance classes and flew out the door to the studio.  We were picked up around 7:00 or 7:30 that evening, returned home to finish our studies, wash up and hit our pillows.

Somewhere in between we ate dinner (we never ate on the run, never ate anywhere other than at the dining room table) and almost always it was my mom's homemade chicken nuggets.  She would set a plate in the center of the table piled high with the best golden brown bite size pieces of chicken (a paper towel always lined the plate) and my sister and I would ravage the pile like a bunch of starved teenage boys.  Who knew girls could eat like that!

So, in honor of Mondays, because it was tradition, because we have approximately one month before those busy school days begin, and because I love chicken nuggets, I am going to share with you my version of Mom's recipe.  Enjoy!

Busy Monday Chicken Nuggets
serves:  4
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3 chicken breasts, cubed into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

1 cup flour (approximate amount)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fleur de Sel
  1. Marinate:  Place cubed chicken into a gallon size plastic bag.  Add lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper into the bag.  Seal and squish the bag to incorporate all the ingredients.  Place bag onto a plate and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Place the ingredients for the dredging mixture onto a separate large plate (flour, salt, pepper, thyme & cayenne)  Mix well with hands.  Remove chicken from the refrigerator.
  3. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil to pan, about 1/4-inch deep.  Working in batches, lift chicken out of marinade and shake off excess.  Dredge chicken pieces into the flour mixture and coat completely.
  4. Add carefully to the hot pan.  Fry until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. About six minutes on each side.
  5. Using tongs, lift chicken out of frying pan and place on a towel lined plate.  Sprinkle with a little fleur de sel.
Cooks Note:
  • You may keep nuggets warm while cooking other batches by placing them in the oven on the lowest setting.
  • To keep track of which chicken piece you place in the pan first, treat your skillet as you would a clock.  Add your first piece at the 12 o'clock position and continue placing your chicken pieces around the pan moving clockwise ending at 11 o'clock.  My final pieces are always in the center of the pan.
  • You may have to add more oil between batches.  Let that oil heat up before you add the next batch.  Cold Oil = Soggy Crust. Bleh!

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