Sunday, January 22, 2012

Football Finger Food

Chicken fingers with a creamy spicy dipping sauce make a great decadent treat for game day.  Although we don't eat a lot of fried foods for our everyday meals, when it comes time for the playoffs, the crispy succulent tidbits have a way of making it onto the menu.

The great thing about chicken fingers is that they can go from a plain salt/pepper to a hot and spicy buffalo wing coating just by changing the finishing sauce.  And they're super quick to make.

This recipe will make a very lightly coated chicken finger.  Just enough coating to hold the seasoning onto the chicken - not a heavily coated super crunchy chicken finger.

You'll need:

Oil for frying
Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper
Chicken strips
Spicy Mustard

Pour some oil into a frying pan and let that heat up.  I'm reusing the pan that I made the sausage in and leaving those little bits in the oil for some extra flavor.  You don't need to use a lot of oil here - this isn't deep frying, it's pan frying.  So only pour enough oil in to come about 1/4 of the way up on a piece of chicken.  Less is more here.

Put the flour - about 3/4 cup, garlic powder - a teaspoon or so, cayenne pepper - 1/2 teaspoon (or more!), salt - 1/2 teaspoon, and pepper - 1/4 teaspoon into a bowl and mix it up.

Pour a cup of milk into another bowl.  Wash off the chicken and pat it dry.

Dip the chicken finger into the milk and pull it out - let it drip for a second or two.

Now dip the chicken finger into the seasoned flour mixture.  The flour will stick to the chicken in a really thin coating.  Shake off the extra flour.

Place the chicken finger into the hot oil.  You see how the oil is sizzling a bit as the chicken goes in?  That's what we want.  Also - notice how I put it in so the part nearest goes down first and the part away plops in last?  This way if it accidentally falls off of the fork and splashes hot boiling oil all over the place - one of those places won't be on me.  Because then there would be burning and pain and hospitals and bandages - and I would miss the game.  I don't want to miss the game.

Flip them when they get lightly toasty on the first side - not too toasty looking because they will cook more as you cook the 2nd side.  In the picture you can see the 1st side comes out darker than the 2nd side, but I assure you the chicken is cooked to perfection.  When the 2nd side gets lightly toasty, pull them out and place them on paper towels to drain off any excess oil.  For larger batches I would put them on a rack to drain so I don't have to use tons of paper towels, but for this little batch, a single paper towel handles the job nicely.

Now for the sauce.  Simple. Simple. Simple.

Spoon out about a 1/2 cup of mayonnaise into a bowl.  Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Add to that 1 1/2 tablespoons of spicy brown mustard and a tablespoon of drained horseradish.  Mix it all up.  You're done.

Chicken fingers and spicy dipping sauce.  Tasty, crunchy, spicy deliciousness.

We really enjoyed this finger food menu for the big game.  The chicken fingers were delish and flew off the plate.  The sausage stuffed potato skins also went fast.  For an added kick, we drizzled the spicy dipping sauce on top.  Finally the cheesy olive biscuits finished up the trio of finger foods as a salty, cheesy bite (also great with the dipping sauce!).

So that was "dinner" - chicken, biscuits and potatoes served up as finger foods.  Not very balanced, but oh so very good!  And yes, we did eat our vegetables later on in a nice salad - with the remains of that dipping sauce for dressing!

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