Golden crumbed chicken fingers go wonderfully with tasty little stubby fries, baked and tossed with crispy, chewy nuggets of bacon. Every now and then you just need to indulge. (Skip to recipe.)
Cooking with Meredith
It's been cold and wintry outside, the roads have been treacherous many days, and we don't feel like running the 14 kilometres into town whenever we need a chicken fingers and fries fix. So Meredith and I made our own, and these were worth staying home for.
The stubby fries came about because I had a bag of those teeny tiny creamer potatoes in the basement. I love to roast potatoes with duck fat or bacon fat for the flavour bomb it produces. Creamy centers of potato fudge and crispy little outsides, crackly and browned.
Since the mini potato wedges are so small, we decided, why not throw in the bacon, too? It took about the same time to cook, and let me tell you - we were fighting for those salty, crunchy-yet-chewy little bacon nuggets nestled amongst the stubby fries. A dusting of sweet rice flour before roasting the potatoes and the bacon added even more crunch.
What's better than potatoes roasted in bacon fat? Potatoes and bacon roasted in bacon fat!
And in case the words bacon fat have you a little worried, the chicken fingers are baked without any oil or added fat, except for the bit of oil naturally occurring in the ground almond coating.
Add a handful of veggie sticks and a blob of your favourite dipping sauce (we made this honey mustard sauce), and you've got just the thing to keep you at home and cozy while winter does its wild stuff outside.
I know we're trying to eat light and clean to start out the new year, but sometimes you gotta indulge, and this kind of indulging isn't too bad. The chicken fingers are oven baked, and the stubby fries - well, they've got bacon. Bacon!
I'll just make sure to have some veggie-heavy meals tomorrow ;).
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Chicken Fingers and Stubby Fries
for the stubby fries:
- 2 lbs (900gms) little potatoes, 1½-2 inches long (6 cups, quartered lengthwise)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ lb (225gms/6 to 8 slices) bacon, not thin-sliced
- ¼ cup sweet rice flour or regular flour
for the chicken fingers:
- 1 lb (450gms) chicken breast fillets/tenders (or long strips of chicken breast)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- 1¼ cups (140gms) almond meal/flour
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
If you rinse the little potatoes before using, make sure they are dry by dabbing them with a dish towel to remove any water clinging to the outside.
Cut each little potato into quarters lengthwise, and place them into a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Toss them well with a spatula to coat the potato wedges with the spices. You want to add the salt and spices to the potatoes first, so the bacon pieces don't get additional salt on them.
Stack up the bacon strips and cut them crosswise into six pieces each. Add the bacon pieces and the rice flour to the potatoes. Toss with your hands until the flour coats all the potatoes and bacon.
Line a large baking sheet with a big piece of parchment paper that sticks up the sides a bit.
Spread the stubby fries and bacon onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes. (You'll add the chicken to the oven and finish baking them together, so that the fries have a total baking time of 45 minutes.)
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While the potatoes are baking, prepare the chicken.
In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. In another bowl, stir together the almond meal, the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt, and the paprika.
Dip each chicken fillet first into the egg, then into the almond meal, pressing the almond meal into the chicken to make sure it covers all sides. This works best if you use one hand to dip the chicken pieces into the egg and the other hand to dip it into the almond meal.
Lay the coated chicken pieces onto a cookie sheet (you can line it with parchment paper to make clean up easier), leaving space between the pieces.
Once the potato stubby fries have cooked for 25 minutes, toss them with a spatula to make sure they are all coated with the bacon grease. Add the pan of coated chicken fingers to the oven and bake them, along with the stubby fries, for another 20 minutes.
Remove both pans from the oven, and use a spatula to transfer the stubby fries and bacon to a double layer of paper towel, to absorb any excess bacon fat.
Serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
For more fun cooking projects to make with kids, see the ‘Cooking With Kids’ series here.
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