Sunday, January 31, 2010
Chicken Strips with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
It’s always more fun to eat food when you can dip it into a sauce or condiment. I guess that’s why hand-held, dip-able things like chicken nuggets are always on children’s menus at fast food restaurants. (If its fun to eat, kids will ask for it, right? Sales!)
Of course, they’re on the grown-up McMenu too, because you definitely don’t have to be a kid to enjoy using your hands to eat food. Since I do not usually include foods with the prefix “Mc” in my meal plan (but still like eating chicken strips), I just periodically make them at home.
Although my chicken strips are not quite as speedy as running through a drive-thru, they’re not too difficult to make and they taste much better. Plus, you know exactly what you’re putting into your homemade chicken strips. They’re much lower in sodium and they’re not deep fried, so they’re better for you.
Look for panko in the Asian foods aisle of your grocery store. If you cannot find it, you can substitute regular unseasoned bread crumbs, but you’ll have the best, crispiest texture with panko.
If you’re looking for something to serve at a Super Bowl party next weekend, give these chicken strips a try! The honey mustard sauce tastes good with other things, too – I accidentally discovered asparagus spears are delicious when dipped in the sauce.
First make the dipping sauce:
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Makes about 3/4 cup
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
A pinch of kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic hot sauce, or to taste
Mix all of the ingredients. Taste the sauce and adjust the spicy/sweet/tangy ingredients as necessary. Refrigerate the sauce until serving time.
Then make the chicken:
Homemade Chicken Strips
Serves 4 as an appetizer (add a few side dishes to serve it as an entrée)
2 chicken breast halves
1 cup all-purpose flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of pepper
2 Tbsp water
Approximately 2 cups panko crumbs
Olive oil, for panfrying
Slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally into two flat, thin pieces.
Then cut the chicken into “fingers.”
You will need three small bowls (cereal bowls, pie pans, small mixing bowls, whatever…all work well). In one bowl, place the flour, salt, and pepper. Stir it with a fork to combine the ingredients. In the second bowl, whisk together the eggs and water.
In the third bowl, place the panko. Since panko is kind of expensive, you might want to start with a smaller quantity and add more to the bowl only as you need it. I start with one cup and add a little more as I work, for a total usage of approximately two cups.
Bread the chicken:
When I bread meat, I usually use tongs. It is kind of messy. If you get flour and eggs on your hands, you’ll have a gluey mess that is difficult to wash off. Tongs are much easier to clean – if they get too gluey, just use a utensil to scrape the yuck off.
Each piece of chicken should be dipped first into the flour…
…then into the egg wash, and then into the panko.
Be sure you have coated all parts of the chicken each time you dip – that’s especially important with the egg and the panko. Use the flat part of the tongs to pat the panko crumbs firmly onto the chicken pieces.
I transfer the breaded chicken to a rack set over a piece of waxed paper (to catch the crumbs) until its time to start cooking.
Once you’ve breaded a fair amount of chicken, you can start to cook it while you continue to bread the remaining meat.
To cook the chicken:
In a large nonstick skillet, heat a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Lay in several strips of chicken, enough to cover the bottom of the pan – but don’t let the chicken pieces touch each other. Cook the chicken for several minutes on each side until the breading is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Continue with the remaining chicken (you will probably need to add additional oil as you work). I drain my chicken pieces on paper towels after they’re cooked.
Serve the chicken with honey mustard sauce. Yum!