Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Nuggets

After forty years of eating badly and filling my diet with wheat flours, dairy and sugar, this transition has been the most monumental thing I've ever tackled. It has not been fun. It has not been exciting. And, sadly, it has not been flavorful. When I made a dairy-free ranch dressing last night and it tasted like infant formula mixed with onion powder and the tears of disappointed fat kids, I literally cried. I knew I had to find something that I normally ate that could be modified effectively. Enter my passion for buffalo chicken. If there wasn't SOME way I could make this dish happen on this new diet, I knew I'd never make it work.

God bless rice flour and canola oil.

If you've seen my recipe for chicken lips or fried chicken, you know what I normally use to make them: milk, all-purpose flour, etc. This is a simple substitution and it. tastes. AMAZING. Not "I'm going to tell them it's amazing when it tastes like roof shingles" amazing. I'm talking INCREDIBLY good. My family tried them and they think they're even better than my usual recipe. I tend to agree.

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c Red Hot Wing sauce
½ c water
1 c rice flour (almond flour would also work)
1 c corn starch
garlic powder
onion powder
canola oil (or other healthy oil) for frying.

Without getting all "Alton Brown-scientific" on you, trust me that you'll want to cut your chicken into thinner strips than normal before cutting into nugget size. Between the rice flour/corn starch being different from regular flour breading and the oil being a different smoke point, you can burn the crust of the nugget and have raw chicken inside. You don't want that. :) I would say a good measure would be about ½" thick and 1-1½" long.

Mix together the eggs, hot sauce and water in a bowl. Typically I would use a milk/egg wash and, if you chose to, you could use coconut or almond milk, but I wanted to try this first. You can use a different hot sauce/water mix depending on how spicy you want the breading.

Mix together the rice flour and corn starch, then add the seasonings to taste. You can add any seasonings you'd like (cayenne, paprika, etc) or keep it plain with just salt and pepper. 

Preheat your oil to 375° (this is a relative guess, as I don't usually use a thermometer. When a pinch of flour sizzles when dropped in the hot oil, it's warm enough).

Dip the chicken pieces in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture. Double-dip back in the egg mixture and the dry mix again. Add to the hot oil and cook on each side until golden brown.

Drain on a paper towel or napkin, letting the nuggets cool for a couple minutes. Sometimes rice flour and corn starch can be gummy and fall off if you handle them too much right out of the oil.

I'm sure these can also be baked with the use of a cooking spray, so if anyone knows how to do this effectively, I look forward to hearing from you.

I drizzled these with more Red Hot wing sauce, but you could serve plain, too. They're crunchy, flavorful and absolutely delicious.

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