Sunday, December 31, 2017

H is for: Hot Honey Fried Chicken Strips

Along with most of the country, I will be commencing a major cleanse/detox/healthy eating pilgrimage starting on January 2nd.

If you've been following the blog and/or my instagram stories, you already know that a majority of my diet recently has consisted of: bread, pasta, fried things, wine, & champagne.

Hey, it happens.

It's the holidays, it's cold, there are parties and well... it's just too hard to say no to all of that. January is a nice time to hit the reset button and give your body a break.

But guess what? It's still December. (Why is Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" suddenly playing in my head?)

Cue these delightfully spicy & sweet chicken fingers. You might even have all the ingredients on hand, which means... there's still time to make them before January 2nd rolls around!

You'll need about a pound of chicken to make 12 . I generally prefer boneless, skinless thighs as opposed to breasts because they are more flavorful and less likely to dry out, but use whatever you prefer (or more importantly, whatever you have on hand.)

I also like to pound the chicken so that everything is an even thickness. It will cook faster, and, well, more evenly. Pound to about 1/4" to 1/2" thickness and cut into even strips.

I wanted to use buttermilk, but I didn't have any and it's like 10 degrees outside, so I just used this little hack where you can add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar to milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Of course, actual buttermilk would be best, but this is a nice little work around if you don't have any on hand. I mixed it with a little honey (not sure if this did anything, but I liked the idea of it) and poured it over my chicken strips, reserving about 1/3 cup for the breading.

Now, admittedly, I should've marinated them overnight. But I forgot. So I marinated them for about 20-25 minutes and they were still delicious. So if you happen to think about it ahead of time, do it a day ahead. If not, don't stress.

While the chicken is marinating, mix up the breading mixture. I used flour, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne, onion powder and garlic powder. The last two are probably optional, but I think the others are important. I used a whole teaspoon of cayenne because I wanted these to have a kick, but you could take that down a little if you don't like spice.

There are obviously a million ways to bread chicken. But I wanted that super "craggy" coating with lots of crunch. I googled this, and it seems the key is to mix a little of the buttermilk into the dry, seasoned flour mixture. You only need about 1/3 cup of buttermilk. It will make sort of a chunky mixture. This is what you want. And you want those chunks to stick to the chicken when you bread. So get in there and get messy with your hands.

It helps to set a wire rack over a baking sheet to keep the breaded strips while you finish the breading process.

When you're done breading, heat about an inch of oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pan. (I like to use Safflower oil for frying.) Heat it to around 350-375 degrees and fry the chicken strips in batches, turning after 1-2 minutes and cooking another 1-2 minutes. I was skeptical this wouldn't be enough time to cook the chicken, but I tested it with a thermometer and it was completely cooked after 3-4 minutes in the oil. I think as long as the chicken is thin and the oil is the correct temperature, you should be fine. (Check the temp, just in case. It should be 165 degrees.) After each batch, you will need to return the oil back to 350-375 degrees (mine always got hotter by the end of the frying.)

Place a second wire rack over another baking pan and place fried chicken on it to drain. I kept mine in a 200 degree oven while I fried the rest of the chicken to keep everything warm.

While chicken is frying, you can quickly mix up the hot honey. I used about 1/4 cup of honey and a tablespoon of Sriracha. You can use whatever your favorite hot sauce is... Franks, Crystal, Sriracha, Tapatio... whatever floats your hot sauce boat. You also might want to experiment with amounts. Like I said, I like things spicy, so a tablespoon was a perfect balance of spicy and sweet... but that's just one girl's opinion!

Look at that CRUNCHY CRAGGY CRUST!! I'm in love.

And don't be shy with that hot honey. It's sooooo good.

Happy New Year everyone! Diet starts Tuesday...

Hot Honey Fried Chicken Fingers

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: fry appetizer entree chicken buttermilk honey sriracha

Ingredients (12 chicken fingers)
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, if you prefer)
  • 1 cup + 1/3 cup buttermilk (divided use)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/4 cup honey (divided use)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (optional)
  • Safflower oil, for frying
  1. Using plastic wrap or a plastic ziplock bag, pound chicken to an even thickness, about 1/4" to 1/2". Cut into even strips. (I cut each thigh into 3 strips each.)
  2. Mix together 1 cup of buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of honey. Place chicken in a shallow dish and pour buttermilk mixture over the chicken. Marinate at room temperature for 20-25 minutes or overnight in the fridge.
  3. Mix together the remaining 1/4 cup honey and as much hot sauce to taste. (I used 1 teaspoon Sriracha). Set aside until ready to serve.
  4. Mix together flour & spices in a large bowl. When you are ready to start breading, stir the remaining 1/3 cup of buttermilk into the flour mixture. (It will be chunky.)
  5. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
  6. Dredge chicken in flour mixture so that each piece is fully coated. Place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet until all pieces are breaded.
  7. Pour about an inch of oil into a deep, heavy bottomed pan and heat on medium-high until oil temperature reaches 350-375 degrees. Fry chicken in batches, about 1-2 minutes on each side, turning once until golden brown and internal temperature is 165 degrees. Drain on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and keep warm in the 200 degree oven while you fry all the pieces of chicken. (In between batches, be sure to check the oil temperature.)
  8. Once all chicken has been fried, serve immediately with the hot honey.
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  1. Craggy? I never knew I loved that word. The deep fryer is the greatest invention ever, IMO. I'll probably tweak by going with a strawberry sauce instead (kinda heat adverse). Thanks for sharing. Pix are awesome. And Happy New Year!

    1. Same here! If you are heat adverse, definitely cut down on the amount of cayenne or omit completely. Happy New Year!

  2. First recipe I’ve made from your blog, and I must say, it was amazing! The buttermilk definitely makes a difference, with that subtle tang inconjuction with the heat of the spicy craggy crunch and the hot honey sauce. Great for a cold afternoon of football....besides, like you said, January 2nd is tomorrow ��. Keep ‘em coming, can’t wait to try more! Happy New Year!


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