Why should anyone bother to make their own Chicken Nuggets, when they can buy them conveniently ready made? Even ready cooked as a fast food take-away. Well, chicken is usually a meat that most kids will eat and for some reason a coating of breadcrumbs makes it even more appealing. If you are concerned with what goes into processed and ready packaged food in the way of preservatives and additives though, you might like to produce your own chicken nuggets for those occasions when your children demand comfort food. These home-made chicken nuggets taste much nicer than bought ones and you know exactly what’s in them – that there are no unwanted preservatives, that it really is chicken, if you have a source of affordable organic chicken you can use that and they will also be really fresh.
The preparation time isn’t that long, about ten minutes, but the chicken nuggets cook crispier if they have a little drying time in the fridge before frying (yes I did say frying, let’s live dangerously on one dietary front!) so the first stage can be done up to two hours before cooking, when you have ten minutes to spare. After that the cooking time is very quick. The quality of the breadcrumbs does make a difference. Fresh, slightly dry, crumbs are definitely better than those powdery packets of ‘golden’ crumbs that you can buy. On the occasions when I’m being a zealous and orgainised mother I whizz up stale (but not mouldy) white bread in the food processor and keep a freezer bag full in the freezer. Hopefully that will last until the next bout of housewifeliness hits me. If you don’t have a ready prepared stash of crumbs, whizz up a white roll from the freezer to make crumbs and spread them on a plate to dry slightly.
Chicken Nuggets Recipe
450g/1lb Chicken breast fillets 30g/1oz plain flour ¼ teaspoon Chicken spice mix (optional or substitute your favourite spice) ¼ teaspoon salt 1 egg 3-4 handfuls of breadcrumbs
These quantities are a rough guide, increase or reduce them according to how much chicken you want to cook.
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Get four bowls or plates. The first for the sieved flour with mixed in a pinch of chicken spice, salt and pepper. The second for the egg, beaten with a pinch of salt and half a tablespoon water or vegetable oil. The third for the breadcrumbs. The last is to put the finished nuggets on.
Dip each piece of chicken, first in the flour mix so it is coated, shake off any excess. Next into the egg and lastly roll it in the breadcrumbs before laying it on the plate to dry. As you work through all the pieces your fingers will get a thick coating on too, resembling chicken nuggets themselves. When all the chicken pieces are coated put the plate uncovered in the fridge to dry and crisp up a bit. This can be for as little as ten minutes but an hour or two is better. To cook, heat up approx 3 tablespoons sunflower / vegetable oil in a wide frying pan. When hot add as many nuggets as will fit without crowding. Turn when golden on one side. When all sides are cooked remove onto kitchen paper to drain off some oil. As soon as they are all cooked serve while hot.
You could do the same thing with strips of fish to make your own fish fingers and gain the supermom of the year award! Having said that you do need to have something ready-made as a standby in the freezer for those days when cooking supper is too much and bought fish fingers have that slot in our house.
Copyright 2007 Kit Heathcock
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Kit Heathcock - worked and travelled in Italy for many years, is passionate about food and loves being a fulltime mother. Co-creator of Food & Family a wonderful resource for delicious recipes and natural health advice and A Flower Gallery, or follow her blog at Food & Family Blog,