Saturday, July 5, 2008

My new favorite kitchen tool; Chicken nuggets

I bought a needle meat tenderizer in order to make Alton Brown's Swiss Steak. I already blogged that here. It was quite expensive ($30 at Bed Bath and Beyond locally) so I decided to try it out elsewhere on other recipes and I LOVE it. I have used it on chicken thighs several times to make both fried and baked chicken nuggets. For both recipes, I go over the meat vertically and horizontally on both sides and then slice it into strips. It truly makes the nuggets very tender. I think part of the reason Andrew has balked at my nuggets in the past is the 'string' factor of the chicken. This all but eliminates that.

My sissy is going to send me the recipe directly for the baked nuggets that she makes because I thought mine were a bit crunchy but both Andrew and Marked liked them. I mix dijon mustard, honey and rice milk in one dish and gf flour, seasonings and cornmeal in the other. (I mix a blend of flours from gf Christmas cookies and keep it in my freezer.) I take the tenderized strips and put them first in the wet then dry and finally on a baking rack over a cookie sheet. Cook at 375F for 10-20 minutes depending on the size of the strips. You can also do full chicken breasts or thighs instead of the strips. Of course I know this is a loose recipe- one reason I will probably never write a cookbook! This would be a great RCR (regulatory) activity for you to do with your child if you don't mind their hands in raw chicken. (You could also use forks or tongs.) You obviously don't NEED the tool to do the RCR as you can just pre-cut the strips without them being tenderized. By the way- the tenderizer is VERY VERY sharp. Please do NOT use this with kids. I had thoughts of this being a great sensory exercise for Andrew in that he could slam on the tenderizer without touching the meat and get some great proprioceptive input but decided against it because any curious kiddo will certainly get hurt.

For those that might like a further lesson in the science of meat tenderizing you can click here.

No comments: