Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Chicken strip bake-off

So I have two recipes for chicken strips/popcorn chicken.  One, I clipped out of the newspaper several months ago, and one was just posted by the Pioneer Woman.  I tried a few variables today to determine which I liked better.  There are no pictures.  I was too hungry.

In both trials, I seasoned them only with salt and pepper.  The P-Dub's recipe uses flour to coat, and the newspaper's recipe used breadcrumbs.  I'll explain more when I get there.  First, PW's.

I didn't soak my chicken in buttermilk as long as she suggests, but it turned out fine.  I also made A LOT LESS, of course, because she's feeding a cowboy and I am feeding me.  I had some leftover fajita chicken (maybe? it's very thinly sliced) in the freezer.  It came in a tray with several little partitions, and I used one block, which was maybe 4-ish ounces.  I also tried one piece with bread crumbs.

The newspaper recipe was for oven popcorn chicken.  I did the buttermilk soak as well, since I don't remember what the recipe called for, as I seem to have misplaced it.  It's probably in my pile of newspaper clippings.  I used a panko/breadcrumb mix (mostly because I have looooots more breadcrumbs than panko), also seasoned with salt and pepper.  I didn't try one with the flour coating, although I guess I should have, for science's sake.

Anyway, once the chicken is coated in the bread crumbs, you spray it with oil.  It might work with Pam and the like, but I have one of those spritzers that you pump.  You get a hearty coating of oil, but still not a lot.  With Pam, you'd probably have to use a lot more, or at least it would seem that way.  Spray both sides, and cook.  I did ten minutes at 400-ish, then turned them over, turned the oven off, and gave them another five minutes.  Too long, probably, but I have an unholy terror of undercooked meat.

The results?  The oven ones were definitely crunchiest, even more than the fried breadcrumb one.  The fried ones did have a little more flavor, because really, fat is yummy.  Plus, the oven version has much less fat, and I don't end up smelling like oil.  I like to cook, but I hate smelling like cooking.  I dipped them all in ranch dressing, so the flavor level was not too big of a deal.  Ultimately, I'll have to go with the oven version and just season them more.  I hate having to pour all that oil out.  But I REALLY hate smelling like food.


  1. This is why I don't make my own eggrolls or tempura. I hate having to use all that oil and then throw it out.
    I'm glad it's not just me.

  2. You can strain it and reuse it a couple times. Or just leave it on the stove to use again tomorrow....


Be nice.