Sunday, September 25, 2011

Garlic Chicken Tenders...

I'm a New Yorker. Born and raised. And even though I've technically lived in the south longer than I ever lived up north, I'm still a Yankee. Through and through. But slowly, some of these Confederate ways have seeped into my life. More specifically. My kitchen.

Growing up, the foods we ate were either sauteed, steamed or simmered. My dad owned every cooking utensil. All-Clad pans in every size. And Le Creuset dutch ovens carried home directly from France in his suitcase. But the one pan that you would never find in his kitchen was a black cast-iron skillet.

I have never bought one myself either. Instead I inherited one from my neighbor when she switched to a flat-top range and could no longer use it. That skillet sat in my cabinet for years before it finally got used. I didn't know what to do with it.

Until that is, I decided to try my hand at cooking up some good ole-fashioned, Southern fried chicken. We never fried foods growing up. I had no idea what I was doing. But the ballerinas love their chicken nuggets so I decided to give it a whirl.

And I have to say. I may be able to pass for a southerner now. I think I passed the initiation test. I can make fried chicken. In a black, cast-iron skillet. When you come to visit, you'll know you're in the right place when you see the Navy Jack flag flying. And I'm standing on the front porch welcoming you with a glass of sweet tea.

So if you want to get your southern on too. Here's what you'll need...

a black cast-iron skillet, of course

some fresh chicken tenders

Oh. You don't have one that fresh? Ok. This will do then...

If you have to, you can cheat. (just don't tell these women if you do)

Mix up these ingredients...
  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken tenders
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cloves, freshly pressed garlic
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cornstarch (secret Southern ingredient. Makes the chicken extra crispy)
  • 1 cup seasoned Panko bread crumbs (I use 1/2 seasoned, half plain Panko bread crumbs)
  • 3-4 Tablespoons McCormick's Grill Mates "Montreal Chicken" seasoning (or other equivalent spices of your choosing)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 quart oil for frying
Like so...
  1. In a small container with a lid, beat the egg, pour in buttermilk and use a garlic press to add 3 fresh garlic cloves. Whisk all together. Add chicken tenders. Seal, and refrigerate at least 2-4 hours up to overnight. 

  1. In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, spices, bread crumbs and baking powder. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Roll chicken tenders in flour mixture until well-coated.
  2. Heat oil in your black, cast-iron skillet to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). (This is medium-high heat on my stovetop.)  
  3. Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear. About 4 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. 

We like them with a little bowl of ranch dressing for dipping. And to ease my guilty Yankee conscience, we add a side of steamed fresh broccoli.  

Gotta run. The phone is ringing. Caller ID says... Deen, Paula. hmmm....


Debbie said...

Sounds (and looks) like you're ready for a throwdown...
Bring it Bobby!

mandy said...

oh, those look good! I love southern cooking. so glad you've got a cast iron skillet, they are amazing!
my mother is from louisiana. here is a trick i learned from my great grandma:
mix up some corn bread and put a liberal amount of oil in your cast iron pan. heat your oven up to 450 with the pan inside pull the pan out when oven is at temperature and pour that cornbread into the hot oiled pan, bake as usual. effing amazing.

Amy said...

I'm from Michigan. I've never owned a cast iron skillet or fried anything either. I am definitely still a Yankee (only been here 5 years anyway). Those look yummy. What time is dinner at your house? ;-)

{ T G L } said...

Sounds like you've integrated plenty well down South!
That fried chicken looks authentic to me :)

Did you have any real Southerners to try your food and rate it? ;)

Enjoy the skillet!

This Good Life

Nicolle said...

Dang it, that chicken looks good! Kevin just bought a set of cast iron pots and I've always hated them, but now I want to try them out. I will be right over for some sweet tea too. :)

Bridget said...

Perfectly, wonderfully Southern meal. Love it!

karren said...

Thanks for the tutorial...and more cute chickens!

Kristin said...

I have 3 cast iron skillets and need to break them out now that we have a gas stove in the new house. You've inspired me and I'm going to give it a whirl. I'm also thinking I need to start calling you "The Beach Woman" because this tutorial reminded me of "The Pioneer Woman"!

BTW, I wrote you an email the other day when I got an itch to move to a beach and was looking for thoughts on East Coast down to earth beach towns. Did it end up in cyber-space or are you still mulling over your thoughts?

Cindy S said...

Dang, wish I'd found that recipe BEFORE I started back on the weight watchers.


Gabe said...

so how is Paula? Haven't talked to her in ages!!!!

I have a cast iron skillet, I have chicken maybe I can cook like a southerner too--:)

If this is anything like your little choc chip muffins, it will become a staple around here!

vanessa said...

Congrats on your first fried food! I love fried chicken and other fried foods, especially okra but hate to fry in my house because it will stink for days. I've only fried 2x in my life. When I told my friends they looked at me like I had 2 heads. That is Alabama for you!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

Looks yummy! I am starring this recipe for later use (once I get one of those skillets!) Good job, you are now officially southern.

Dani said...

I have so enjoyed catching up with you and all your fun.

September is my lost month...or this one is.

I've missed you and your sweet self.

sloan said...

omg, this looks sooooo delicious - but i don't have a cast iron skillet ... do i even stand a chance w/o one?!

Megan said...

I need a cast iron skillet! How do I not have one?!