Battered, fried and incredibly flavourful and moist chicken tenders
As you may know, each of us has 2 daughters and although they are now teenagers and adults (when did that actually happen?) memories of them as little girls are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. The adorable frilly dresses. The pony tails and animal shaped hair clips. The innocent wonder of eyes gazing into the world, full of curiosity. The sweet, darling voices asking for one more book before bed.
But let’s be honest, we also remember the temper tantrums in the mall. The permanent marker all over the bedspread. The defiance, the whining, the sibling rivalry. The refusal to eat anything green or the insistence to eat only a handful of items, over and over again. One of those things, asked for regularly, were chicken nuggets or fingers.
We would be lying if we said that on occasion we didn’t reach for the store-bought frozen chicken nuggets we kept hidden in our freezer, behind our stock of fakes and spanakopitakia. Our emergency supply of sustenance that we could easily and quickly pop into the oven and feed hungry mouths with, often saved us. But really, it never felt quite right. We knew that we could do better than the processed, high sodium foods that our girls gobbled up. We also knew that our parents would be horrified to learn that our children (their grand-children!) were being fed anything but homemade goodness.
It was this
fear of our parents concern for our daughters’ well-being that had us explore ways to make our own chicken nuggets or chicken fingers. After many attempts, and many failures (who else has had the batter on fried chicken slide right off of it?) we did come up with a recipe and technique that results in chicken tenders that you can proudly serve to your kids, and to your entire family!
What are chicken tenders?
Chicken tenders are the small portion of white meat attached to the underside of each chicken breast; each chicken then has two tenders. Usually about 1 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches long, tenders can either be pulled off the breast by hand or cut off using a knife.
Although you can theoretically find chicken tenders sold separately, we are not able to find them this way. So, when we buy a large pack of chicken breasts we separate the chicken tenders and keep them aside to make these chicken fingers.
Can I use chicken breasts instead of chicken tenders in this recipe?
For sure! Chicken tenders taste just like chicken breasts and therefore you can certainly make this substitution. If you use chicken breasts (or a combination of chicken breasts and tenders) simply cut the breasts into strips and use them that way.
What is Herbes de Provence? What can I use as a substitute?
Herbes de Provence is a mixture of dried herbs commonly used in the Provence region of France. The mixture often contains dry savoury, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and oregano. Occasionally dry lavender can also be found in the mix.
If you cannot find herbes de Provence where you are, you can either make a mixture of these herbs yourself (you can find several recipes online), or you can simply use an equal quantity of your favourite dry herbs. There is no right or wrong substitution here – go with what you like!
What kind of breadcrumbs should I use in this recipe?
Honestly, you can use any breadcrumbs that you like; either seasoned or not. If you use seasoned breadcrumbs then you may need to adjust the salt and pepper that you add to the mix.
Panko breadcrumbs could work as well and can offer a crunchier coating.
My kids prefer chicken nuggets to chicken fingers.
Well, that’s not a problem at all. Instead of leaving the tenders whole, cut them into nugget size pieces. If you are using chicken breasts, cut those into strips and then into nugget sized pieces. Follow the recipe as indicated below. You will need to adjust the cooking time as your chicken pieces will be smaller and will therefore cook more quickly.
What is the best way to serve these chicken fingers?
We think that these chicken fingers are perfect on their own, but they are also amazing when served with tzatziki for dipping, ketchup (of course) or a nice spicy mustard. Served with a salad like a traditional Greek maroulosalata and some vegetable studded rice, they make a complete and delicious meal.
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