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Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Illustration for article titled Buffalo Chicken Nuggets with Blue Cheese Dip (Updated with slight modifications and pic I remembered to take about halfway through inhaling the last batch I made)

OK, I know what you're thinking: "Nuggets?! Aaaaaareyafuckinkidding?" No, I am not, and here's why: boneless. Don't get me wrong, under other circumstances I'll nibble every scrap of meat left on a bone and enjoy every second of it; but when the meat's slathered in sauce and cleanup involves me having to practically shampoo my beard and use up Nevada's entire supply of paper towels I'll find another way to put this stuff in my facehole. Especially considering the vicious cycle this particular recipe starts, which goes something like "crave buffalo chicken, make buffalo chicken, finish buffalo chicken, ten minutes later crave buffalo chicken again."



two chicken breasts
about 3/4 cup of flour
about 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs (I use Panko, regular works just as well but, since we're adding seasoning anyway, don't bother getting pre-seasoned breadcrumbs or just toast 2 pieces of bread to about medium brown and pop 'em in a food processor. It's a good way to use the "ears" of a loaf.)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder and onion powder
1 teaspoon of your favorite spice mix (I'm a fan of Goya's adobo seasoning, although since I can't seem to find it anywhere here I've been using Kroger's "zesty" mix or their lemon pepper mix. Both are good)
about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of milk (yes, milk. I've tried every breading method from eggs to mayo to pancake batter (which is evilly delicious in its own right because it's chicken and pancakes in one go but it's a fuckton of work and within a year you'll have to be airlifted out of your house with a crane just to go get groceries sooooooooooo no) and milk hits that sweet spot of good breading for less work. Use it.)


Buffalo sauce

6 tablespoons of butter
1 1/2 tablespoons of sriracha sauce
1-2 tablespoons of ketchup
2 cloves of garlic, chopped super-fine (microplaned, if you have one)
a glug or three of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
about a tablespoon of vinegar
about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt/pepper/your choice of spice mix


Blue Cheese sauce

about 1/3 pound of blue cheese, crumbled
1/2-3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2-3/4 cup of sour cream
2-3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper
1 green onion, finely diced and bottom removed



Combine all of the ingredients of the blue cheese sauce in a bowl or tupperware container and mix them all together, and then let it hang out in the fridge until you're ready to chow down.


Cut the chicken breasts in half width-wise, so that you have 1 thin piece and one thick piece. Take the thick piece and cut it in half horizontally so that you have 3 pieces of relatively similar thickness. If you want smaller nuggets, cut each of those in half so that you have six pieces roughly the same size and thickness (shape doesn't matter so much), just be aware you might need a little bit more breading to cover the extra surface area. Pour the milk in a bowl; and in another bowl combine the flour, breadcrumbs and spices and mix until evenly distributed. Dredge the pieces in the flour mixture (it helps to use the "dry hand/wet hand technique"), using the wet hand to pick up the piece of chicken, and take a handful of the flour mix in your dry hand so you can put it over the piece of chicken, pat it down to get the flour to all stick, shake off excess, and put it in the milk. Repeat until all of the chicken pieces are in the milk, and using the wet hand, turn the pieces until they're all covered in milk and flour. Return the pieces, 1-2 at a time, to the flour mixture and coat them in another layer of the flour mix. Lay the finished pieces out on a cutting board. When all the pieces are finished, discard any leftover milk but keep the flour bowl on hand.

Heat up enough vegetable oil in a pan to come up about 1/4-inch over medium-high heat, until it starts shimmering or a wooden spoon/spatula bubbles when you touch it to the bottom of the pan or a piece of chicken immediately starts sizzling a bit when you dip it in. Give the chicken pieces another quick tumble in the flour mix to dry up the spots where the milk has started to dampen the breading mix, and once the oil is sufficiently heated, lay the chicken in the pan. Most people tell you not to crowd the pan, but since you're working with thin pieces and high heat, lay in as many pieces as you can without overlapping any. You still might need to work in batches, depending on the size of your pan, but they cook fast so it won't be too much trouble. Put a lid on the pan, if possible, to minimize spitting and to help the meat cook faster, especially if you end up with a few thicker pieces so you don't have to over-brown the breading to cook the chicken all the way through. After 3-4 minutes, or whenever you see browning on the sides of each piece, flip them with tongs to check if they need flipping. When they're golden brown, or at least getting pretty close, flip them and cook the other side for 3-4 minutes. With the lid on, the pieces that aren't quite golden brown yet will come up to the proper color by the time the underside is done. When the chicken is done, transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate to cool and crisp up. The pieces may not all be done at the same time, so check and see if each one is ready for the plate or if it needs some extra time frying on either side.


While the chicken is cooking, cut up the butter into about 1/2-tablespoon size slices to help them melt faster, and combine all the ingredients of the Buffalo sauce in a bowl, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, take it out and stir it, and if the butter still hasn't all melted, put it back in for 10 second intervals until it's all liquid and can be mixed thoroughly and evenly. I've been forgetting to add the lemon juice until after everything else is mixed, but if you add it in with everything else don't get too worried if the garlic turns blue-green. It's due to a reaction caused by being heated up with the lemon juice and it won't change anything about the garlic except the color. Keep an eye on the clock to make sure the chicken pieces don't overcook while you're doing this, or just make the sauce while the chicken cools off a bit after cooking.

Once everything is ready, you can either cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces and dip each one into the Buffalo sauce to preserve the crispyness of the breading, or just put all of the chicken into the Buffalo bowl and mix it until all of the pieces are coated if you don't really care that the breading will get a little soggy towards the end. I put all the chicken in the Buffalo sauce bowl, coat the pieces, plate them, then pour any leftover sauce over the plated chicken pieces. You'll notice this recipe makes about ten times as much blue cheese sauce as you'd get with an order of wings at a bar/restaurant, and the reasoning for that is three-fold. First off; while each piece of Buffalo chicken won't be too terribly spicy on its own, the spice level builds so you might end up using more blue cheese as you go on. Second; I formulated the whole recipe so that the blue cheese and chicken would taste good together rather than trying to make myself cry from spice and then cry again that I had to shovel some bullshit down my gullet just to stop the pain, so I usually eat a piece of chicken and then once the spice kicks in I have a dollop of sauce about the same size as the piece of chicken I just had. Third; the blue cheese sauce is so good there have been a few times where I've had a small spoon-full of it without any chicken at all. However you choose to combine the Buffalo sauce with the chicken and however much blue cheese sauce you use is up to you. Either way, enjoy.

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