It has been a few weeks since I last attempted a recipe from the Sookie Stackhouse Companion in our “Celebrating the SVM” series. After the success of the meatloaf, I admit I was a bit nervous to get back in the saddle… err… kitchen to see what else I could try. But I threw back my shoulders and decided I wanted to take on the Merlotte Chicken Stips. My choice may have been influenced by the @TruebloodHBO tweets of “Merlotte Pride” and the fact that we are midway through the football season and chicken strips are just perfect football food. Right? J
Now that I knew what I wanted to cook, I had to make a few stops to get my ingredients One of my favorite places to get stuff from is “Mom’s”… where I raided my mom’s pantry for spices, cooking oil, and buttermilk. The price was right as it cost me some teasing from my dad that I was going to need to touch raw chicken. What can I say, my reputation is well known. And it is in that spirit I decided to make a tiny tiny tweak to the recipe and buy pre cut chicken tenders instead of cutting down the raw chicken breast as directed. Which might have been a tad gross to do as a novice… and dangerous.
I took my pre cut tenders and tossed them in a ziplock bag with some buttermilk mixed with some spices (curry powder and cayenne pepper) and let it all sit in my fridge for about 8 hours. It was a “set it and forget it” moment for me since I did have to work that day. After about 8 hours, I pulled my marinated chicken out and prepped my flour with some salt and pepper while heating some oil on my stove. Multi tasking… eat your heart out. I followed the instructions to “evenly coat the chicken with flour”. Once the oil was hot enough, I tossed some of the tenders in to cook and watch “the magic”.
As my first few tenders were cooking, I noticed there was not much crisp forming on these tenders. A cartoon light bulb lit over my head as I remembered something I heard… somewhere.. that you after coating with flour toss it back in some buttermilk and redredged through the flour to get a thicker coat. I then broke with the instructions and gave some of the uncooked tenders a second coating. I broke out into a grin as they started cooking up a golden brown. I achieved “OMG” status when I dredged the remaining tenders a third time and saw the results. BAMM! There was crunch.
I could barely wait for them to cool (and drain) from the hot oil before I could taste any of my new favorite creations. All I can say is YUMMY and I will be making again!
Here are some of my photos of my time in the kitchen. And yes, they taste as good as they look.