On a mission to perfect the chicken nugget

I have to tell you about these Savory Herb Chicken Nuggets. I spent weeks working on the recipe. I was on a mission and did not stop until I could say with confidence that I had reached crisp-savory nugget near perfection. I fussed with the ingredients, cooking method, temperature and time. The result was a light and crispy-nutty-herby crust surrounding a tender juicy bite of white meat chicken. Make no mistake these are grown-up chicken nuggets that just happen to have kid appeal.

There are several key features to making these nuggets really amazing. First, marinating the meat helps to ensure it remains juicy when cooked. Second, patting the meat dry and dipping each piece into fluffy whipped egg whites before sprinkling over the coating mixture keeps everything light and airy. Finally the coating is full of flavor. Crunched together are crisp brown rice cereal pieces, fresh herbs, nuts, cracked pepper and no box of “and I helped” in sight. Seriously, you have to try these nuggets.

By now you are likely wondering why this marvelous recipe is not included below. Good question. Truth is, I gave the recipe away. More accurately I entered it into the Attune Foods Holiday Recipe Contest whereby I gave up the right to the recipe. I’m not distressed over this. All of the contest recipes are available on the Attune Foods website. To view the chicken nugget recipe click the link above or head over to attunefoods.com/recipe-contest. There you will find a gallery of tasty recipes in four delicious categories; Healthy Treats, Pies, Gluten Free, and Vegan. These heavenly nuggets were entered in the Gluten Free category. I also submitted an amazing morsel of tantalizing flavor in the Vegan category. I’m calling them Spiced Date Bites. Every person who tried one of these innocuous looking little pebbles uttered a low “wow” – no joke. All the recipes will be judged by notable authorities, so no votes are needed. I will however take fingers-crossed on my behalf. The bragging rights alone would make an awesome prize.

Now, back to the nuggets. While I was carefully measuring and adjusting the chicken recipe I was also experimenting with different ways to compliment them. Finding the right sauce to balance the delicate herby-nuttiness turned out to be one of the hardest parts of this project. I tried a simple gravy but it turned the nuggets soggy. I considered catsup or mustard but found both flavors to be too bold on their own. Then, on a whim, I went seasonal. Partnering cranberries and molasses in a barbecue sauce was new for me but it worked brilliantly. This sauce is a star in its own right but humble enough to partner with the nuggets I worked so hard to perfect.

Cranberry BBQ Sauce

A sweet and sour wintery twist on barbecue sauce. Excellent for brushing on grilled meat or partnering with light and crispy Savory Herb Chicken Nuggets.

Yield: 4 servings 1/4 cup each.

Ingredients

• 1 cup (100 grams) whole cranberries

• 1/2 cup water

• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

• 2 tablespoons molasses

• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

• 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Method

1. Put all the ingredients into a medium sauce pan and bring to boil over medium high heat. As the sauce heats the berries will begin to pop and crack and they will soften and turn creamy.

2. Once the sauce is bubbling reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to reduce to a thick creamy texture. Stir frequently while the sauce reduces to prevent burning on the bottom.

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