ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Kentucky Freud Chicken,” from Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry, by Greta and Jan Podleski*
TIMING: About 20 minutes prep with 40 minutes bake time
DIFFICULTY: Not hard, but not uninvolved
TOOLS: Food processor, baking sheet, and other normal kitchen things
COOK TYPE: Oven, baking
HEALTH: These are winners. True, chicken nuggets have a fairly bad reputation, but that is because they are created with poor quality chicken and breading, over-salted for preservation, and fried. None of that can be said about these. They are made with the chicken you buy (which I suggest be conscientious), a rather nutritious breading, and baked.
EXPERIENCE: And on top of all that health stuff, your family will like them.
Plus, baking is way easier than frying.
I was just looking for something to do with the thigh meat I had bought and to not overwhelm myself in the process of getting everyone back out the door after dinner. Breaded chicken sounded family-pleasing and yummy. I was, like most of you, a little leery about baking the nuggets, but–while sometimes it doesn’t–this time it worked out really well.
NOTES: You can make these as chicken tenders or as bone-in “fried” chicken. You could also bake this as coated chicken breasts. All these applications would work well and not require much longer baking, but you’ll want to double-check that the meat is cooked through.
This recipe holds up well to a whole wheat flour and whole wheat bread.
- Preheat your oven to 440F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- Start setting up your breading station: line up three deep plates or shallow bowls.
- In the first bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- In the second bowl, crack 3 eggs and beat with 1 tablespoon water.
- For the third bowl, throw 3 slices bread, 1 tablespoon steak seasoning, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme in a food processor and grind until crumbed. Dump in the third bowl.
- Cut and trim the 12-20 oz chicken (more for bone-in) into the desired size and shape of your nuggets, tenders, or whatever. Lightly salt.
- Dip the chicken, one at a time, first in the flour (shaking off the excess), then into the egg (letting the extra drip off), then into the bread crumbs. Place the chicken on the pan with room between.
- Spray the chicken with a cooking spray and bake for about 40 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and crispy on the outside.
Serve with barbeque sauce, honey, or honey mustard. On the side, go for a couple of veggies, or a grain and a veggie. French fries (baked, of course) and Southern-style cole slaw would be awesome.
*Recipe has been changed from the original.