Homemade Chicken Nuggets...with Honey Mustard Sauce. Sometimes I like to have fun in the kitchen...well most times I do:). But every once in a while I really look forward to making a recipe that may not be the norm in my cooking and baking. It can oftentimes be a recipe that is challenging, a recipe that may have ingredients I'm not used to, a creative recipe, or a recipe that brings back fond memories of a dish I loved eating as a child. In this case, it's probably neither of those, maybe a bit of the "fond memory" reason... but not in its entirety. For you see, I didn't really eat chicken nuggets as a child, except for the occasional cafeteria school lunch that included the chicken nuggets.
Growing up, I remember mainly eating the Romanian version of the chicken "nuggets"... not exactly nuggets, more like meatballs:). But they were delicious! So most of our meals, 99.9% of them were actually home-cooked. We really didn't go out to eat, and besides the cafeteria lunches, our meals were mainly Romanian. Eventually Americanized meals came into the picture, so that if we wanted a hamburger, we made it at home. If we wanted BBQ'd chicken wings...we made that at home. The same went for lasagna, spaghetti, pizza, and so forth. We didn't really know what fast food was all about. But later on, when we all started going to college, the opportunity to try various fast foods on campus presented itself on occasions... especially when we wanted a break from all the studying:).
There was the student union with its share of fast food... and then there was the international-style cafeteria that offered Italian, American, Chinese, Mexican food, etc.... Interestingly enough, I had my very first taco salad in college... boy, did I think that was special:)! A deep-fried tortilla shaped like a bowl... and filled with all sorts of goodies. Never had that before. And I could never understand why most people would eat the taco filling, and then throw away the tortilla shell. It was the best part:)... O.K. so it wasn't exactly the healthiest, but for me, it was a treat...not something I ate every day. In any case, since then, I have had my share of fast food...
Nowadays though, fast food rarely shows up on our list of meals... it's mainly when we are travelling...and even then it's limited, maybe for the occasional In-N-Out burger:). But I remember chicken nuggets being so delicious... and I loved dipping them in all sorts of sauces. Again, not exactly the healthiest, but they tasted good:).
A few weeks ago, I recently came across a copycat recipe for Mc Donald's chicken nuggets.... homemade. I rather liked the idea of homemade chicken nuggets, but I wasn't shooting for the Mc Donald's version... just chicken nuggets. So I decided to make my own recipe for chicken nuggets... with a simple honey-mustard sauce.
I chose to shallow fry my nuggets, but you can deep fry them if you like. I just love using grapeseed oil to fry, but you can just as well use your favorite oil. I'm thinking these nuggets are a bit healthier than the fast food option... maybe just a bit:). But I do know exactly what I put in them, and even though they were a bit more dense than the fast food ones, we really enjoyed them. The chicken nuggets were just so delicious. Hope you enjoy...
Note: While I chose a flour coating, you can easily use bread crumbs instead. I wouldn't recommend baking them... I tried baking a batch and sprayed them with oil on both sides. They are o.k., but definitely not the same.
*If you find the chicken mixture to be dry, opt to add more egg until it loosens up a bit, and over mixing/over processing the chicken will make the nuggets tough.
Tip: The chicken nuggets freeze very well, so make a double batch(if you have help) and use 2 frying pans instead of one to make things go quicker .
If you are concerned with the salt amount, feel free to adjust salt to taste... you can easily skip the salt in the flour coating.
You will need: makes about 30 generous nuggets (using a 1 1/2 TBS cookie scoop)
4 half chicken breasts, cut in cubes( you could also use a mixture of dark and white meat)
1 egg, beaten*
1 1/2 tsps kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp celery salt
1 tsp onion powder*
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
*I used a spice grinder to grind dried onion flakes until very fine and then measured it out.
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt, or to taste*
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper, or to taste
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp baking powder
* you can omit the salt, if you like.
grapeseed oil, as needed
1. Cut chicken breasts in 1 inch cubes. place in food processor and process for 20-30 seconds...or until meat is a coarse paste....if you like, you can make a fine paste. I just prefer some texture.
2. Place meat in a bowl and add beaten egg and seasoning. (You can likewise add the egg and seasoning when processing the chicken breast.)
3. Mix until combined. Set aside.
4. Mix flour, baking powder, and seasonings with a whisk in a medium bowl. Set side.
5. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and set aside.
6. Using a 1 1/2 cookie scoop( or use your hands) scoop out meat and place in flour bowl. Roll around until meat us covered in flour. Shape the meat into a ball, using your hands. Place meatball on a flat plate and press down using your fingers to about 1/2 inch thick(or so).
8. Take a floured chicken nugget and place in egg wash. Remove with a fork and dip in seasoned flour. Remove and place on a plate...do the same with the remainder of the nuggets. Sometimes if the chicken nuggets have sat too much on on the plate, they can eventually stick...so you can lightly flour the plate/or place them on parchment paper... or try to fry the nuggets as quickly as you can from the time you dipped them in the egg/flour.
9. Heat oil in a shallow 8 inch fry pan(or bigger)... use enough oil to cover skillet to 1/2-3/4 inch up)... and bring the temperature to 365-375 deg F...You can likewise do this step in a deep fryer, if you prefer.
10. Place chicken nuggets in hot oil and cook on one side for 2-3 minutes(or until golden ...Flip over on second side and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes( or until golden and cooked through). Keep in mind chicken breast cooks faster than dark meat and it continues to cook even after you have removed them from the oil... if you overcook the nuggets it will toughen. But if in doubt remove one and cut open... and adjust time.
11. Remove chicken nuggets unto a paper towel lined plate... Chicken nuggets can be done ahead and warmed in a toaster oven/oven at 375 deg F...You can likewise freeze, defrost, and re-heat in oven at a later date.
Honey Mustard Sauce:
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup deli mustard/dijon
2 TBS mayonnaise
2-3 tsps lemon juice
1. Combine all ingredients...you can make the sauce ahead.