Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chicken fingers

You're probably thinking, "Now why are you extolling the virtues of 25-cents-a-serving soup, when you've just told the world you have a kitchen full of truffle oil, imported sea salt and good wine?" Well, my food dollar only goes so far. I'd much rather spend it on good wine, to drink with my bean soup, than spend it on pre-processed anything.

Case in point: chicken fingers. Even the pickiest child will eat them, but they're usually little more than a breading delivery system. The chicken is suspect, they're full of preservatives, and more often than not they taste like breaded grease. So, confronted with a picky ten-year-old, who can turn his nose up at a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ("The peanut butter and jelly came from separate jars! I like it when they come from the same jar!"), I decided to try my hand at homemade chicken fingers.

The key here is panko--Japanese breadcrumbs made from a special kind of crustless bread. They're very airy and crispy, and will give the chicken fingers that great crispy crackly crust. Regular breadcrumbs usually just turn soggy.

2 chicken breasts or 3-4 chicken thighs (I used the thighs and noticed no taste difference)
2-3 cups panko
Seasonings as you see fit (I seasoned the panko with paprika, salt and pepper)
3 eggs, beaten

Cut the chicken into strips, and roll each strip in the egg wash before coating it with panko. Lay each strip on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

The adults ate theirs with Thai peanut sauce; the child ate his with ketchup (naturally). For once, he did not turn up his nose.

I used chicken thighs, bought in bulk and on sale (5 pounds for $11.99). A pound of chicken = $2.40, plus most of a box of panko at $2.99, plus 3 eggs at 13 cents each. A grand total of $5.78 for close to 40 chicken strips, which is around 14 cents each.

No comments:

Post a Comment