I spend quite a lot of time looking for nutritious recipes to cook for the family, but it’s also nice to make comfort food. I’ve been meaning to try this for a while now as I had some buttermilk in the freezer, but there are hundreds of recipes to choose from online. I chose this recipe by Jenn Segal* (Once Upon a Chef) because it has such great reviews.
This is a great recipe, and the results were wonderful, with a straight forward substitution of wheat flour for gluten free flour. The buttermilk marinade softens the chicken beautifully, and the spice mix was flavoursome for us without being too challenging for the small boy (who is able to detect the teeniest grind of pepper).
- 3-4 chicken breasts cut into nuggets or strips
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (mine is smoked)
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika (also smoked)
For the Breading / crispy coating
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose gluten free flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 tablespoons buttermilk
- 3-4 cups vegetable oil
Combine the chicken breasts with all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Make the breading by combining the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined, then add the buttermilk and stir with a fork until mixture is evenly clumpy.
Line a baking sheet with foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade a few pieces at a time and toss into the flour mixture. Be sure to press the chicken firmly into the breading so clumps adhere to the meat. (Jenn suggests using one hand to remove the tenders from the bag and the other to toss in the breading, but I used tongs.) Set breaded pieces on prepared baking sheet.
Line another baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels and set aside. Add oil to a large, high-sided pot until the level reaches about 3/4 inch. Heat over high heat until oil is shimmering. (If a cube of bread sizzles when you drop it in, it’s ready.)
Using tongs, place several chicken pieces in the hot oil without crowding the pan. Cook until golden brown on the bottom side, a few minutes, then flip and cook until second side is also golden, a few minutes more. Set cooked tenders on baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Fry remaining pieces in batches. I kept the cooked pieces warm in a low oven whilst I finished cooking the rest.
It’s hard to tell how golden the chicken is when it’s immersed in the oil. If you’re unsure, simply pull a piece out of the oil and rest it on the paper towels to see the true colour. I also sliced into a few to check they were cooked through.
So this is a lovely recipe, but one for a weekend when there’s a bit more time to faff about with marinading, breading and frying.
* Jenn was a chef until she became a mother, and now runs a cooking blog (in the US). She kindly gives permission to reproduce recipes with a credit.