Friday, September 14, 2007

Cooking With Rickey: Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Football season is now upon us, and you know what that means: cooking up dishes with great indigestive potential. Rickey isn’t as big a football enthusiast as he is a baseball fan, but when it comes to cooking, he’s ready to rise to the occasion. Do you enjoy buffalo wings but feel like all those pesky bones are taking up valuable space that could be replaced by yet more buffalo sauce and chicken meat? Well then this quick & easy recipe is for you. Whether you’re a rabid fan in need of sustenance to fuel a grueling Sunday spent on the couch, or merely a hausfrau who just barely tolerates your significant other’s alarming fixation with watching grown men in tight pants tackle each other, we think you’ll find something in this recipe that appeals to you. Here’s what you’ll need:

Chicken tenders (or boneless chicken breasts cut lengthwise into strips)
Bread crumbs
Chopped Parsley
Several Beaten Eggs
Peanut Oil
Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
Blue Cheese Dressing (Rickey recommends Marzetti’s)

You’ll want to kick things off by heating your oven up to 200° (Fahrenheit, not Celsius you pan-euro jackass). In a large bowl of your choosing, combine the breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Then place the flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in three separate shallow bowls. Presto, you’ve got yourself a little assembly line going on.

*Note: If you’re the type who likes things very hot, add cayenne pepper to the flour mixture. For the next part of the operation, we suggest a little musical accompaniment. Raymond Scott’s “Powerhouse” should work nicely. Go ahead and tap your feet a little—music goes hand in hand with cooking.

One by one, dip the chicken tenders in the flour. Then dip them in the eggs. Then dip them in the breadcrumbs. It’s a regular factory assembly line! (See why Rickey picked out that song?) When you’re all done, place breaded chicken tenders on a large plate to await their oily fate. Next, heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, and fill the bottom of the pan with a ½ inch of peanut oil. Unless you want your precious tenders sticking to the pan, make damn sure there’s a ½ inch of peanut oil in the pan at all time. Using your trusty cooking thermometer (you do have one of these, yes?) heat the oil to 350°.

To prevent a horrific scalding incident, a splatter guard is kind of a must for this recipe. When you’re feeling brave enough, add a few chicken strips (5 to 6) to the hot oil, and cook them until they’re nicely browned on one side. This should take about three minutes. Use tongs to turn the strips, and allow them to finish cooking, two to three minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan, place the pieces on a baking sheet and season 'em with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat this process for all the strips.

Put the finished chicken tenders in the oven to ensure they stay warm and crisp. Don’t stack them on top of each other—they’ll lose their crunchiness. We’d explain why this happens, but that would require a sextant, a master’s degree in Norse mythology, and a small woodland critter. Frankly, Rickey doesn’t have that kind of time on his hands.

Now on to the hot sauce: the heart of the recipe. Combine a ratio of 2 cups hot sauce to 4 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, and bring the wondrous concoction to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When you’re ready to serve the awesomness, put the chicken tenders in a large bowl and pour the sauce over them. Toss 'em to coat all the pieces evenly, and serve them with that Marsetti's blue cheese that Rickey mentioned earlier. And enjoy. We think that you’ll find that the taste stacks up nicely to anything most buffalo wing joints create (except for The Candlelight Inn--those magnificent bastards are in a league of their own).

As far as beverage pairings go, you’ll want to drink something equally modest as this unassuming dish. Go with Sam Adams Light, it’s a stalwart friend that has never let Rickey down in the past. So maybe this wasn’t the most challenging or high brow recipe ever... But you’ll find that it pairs well with an entire Sunday spent watching football. Have no fear; Rickey’s working his way up to a soufflé recipe.

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Alex said...

rickey, thanks for the recipe. I tried it out with much success. An added suggestion would be to broil the chicken for a second after dipping them in sauce. this gives them a bit of crispiness, boo-yah!

mr. met said...

For the sauce, try adding some acid into the mix. You could use white vinegar, but you can also shove a broomstick up your ass, you know? I prefer lemon juice or lime juice. Also, some brown sugar wouldn't hurt too much either.

As for the breading, I'm still a flour/egg/flour guy and let that sit for an hour or so before frying. Of course, you have to liberally season the flour for flavor.

Also, some health crazed woman once made me some healthy wings. Interestily enough, she did the corn flag gag where people crush up the cornflakes and bread the chicken with the afformentioned corn flakes. She baked them and proceeded to douse in the sauce.

I'm a wing purist so I came at her with much resitance, but I have to say, it was not bad and a healthy alternative to the norm.

Rickey Henderson said...

Rickey has always been of the school of thought that in order for wings to be wings, deep frying is required. Perhaps this baking this is worth a shot however.

mr. met said...

I'm with you. However, there are those certain times when Rickey's belt may be too tight. In those times an acceptable alternative has been discovered. They are crunchy and tasty. That being said, my preferred wing preparation is deep fried with the skin on. Kracklin' goodness for everyone.

floatingwild said...

why the bread crumbs?? why not just flour and egg mixture?
I love your choice in cooking music!