I probably married one of the pickiest eaters I know. Or at least he used to be worse than he is now. (We've come a long way) Does anyone remember when restaurants began serving chicken fingers as a staple dish? Somewhere in the 90s I think. Well, it's funny because my husband remembers specifically the first time he had them. I don't. It's just chicken, lol. Anyway, his first time eating chicken fingers was at his 21st birthday when he and I were just friends. Our big group of friends all went out to a restaurant to celebrate, Bennigan's I think. I had the hots for him, but he had "the walls up" at the time (it was shortly after a bad relationship ended), or so he pretended, meanwhile talking to quite a few girls who obviously liked him too. I was much more subtle..or at least I think I was. Ok, let's focus, I tend to ramble. So that was when it all began. His love for chicken fingers that is. No matter where we go out to eat he orders them. It doesn't matter if we are a steakhouse or a seafood restaurant. It's chicken fingers. We went to a really great restaurant for our 10th anniversary on the Outer Banks of NC called the Tale of the Whale and I had an amazing lobster, crab and shrimp in a cream sauce with pasta..FRESH mind you. And WHAT does he order?? Chicken fingers! I'm not kidding. Were they any good even though they cost an arm and a leg? Umm..nope. They were the frozen kind. Granted, a restaurant that nice should know how to bread and fry chicken for pete's sake, especially if they're going to charge that much, but still. It's a SEAFOOD restaurant. WHO orders chicken fingers at a SEAFOOD restaurant?? My husband, that's who. Well, enough teasing...I actually do like chicken fingers if they are made right. Longhorn Steakhouse has some pretty tasty chicken fingers because they are freshly made, or at least they taste like it to me. They're not the pre-breaded and frozen type at all. So I was on a search for some homemade chicken fingers and I came across this fried chicken recipe from Paula Deen. I adjusted it a tiny bit but you can make it exactly the same way and they are amazing. Serve it with my homemade barbecue sauce or honey mustard sauce and you'll want to make these yourself often.
1 1/2 lbs. chicken breast tenders (tendon removed)
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoons pepper
3/4 cup Texas Pete hot sauce (is there any other?:) )
1/3 cup water
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Oil for frying
1. First thing's first, pour the oil into a deep pan or pot and insert your thermometer. Preheat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to use the thermometer so you can monitor the temperature. It fluctuates as you are putting the chicken in and out so try to keep it at that temperature. If it gets too hot it WILL burn and you won't be happy. Trust me. Been there, done that. I always use a thermometer when frying foods now.
2. The next thing you need to do is cut of the tendon. It's this little white thing at the end of the tender. There's nothing good about eating this so just get rid of it.
3. season both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
4. In a large bowl or a baking dish, combine the water, eggs, and hot sauce. Whisk together.
5. In another bowl combine the self rising flour and pepper.
6. First dip the seasoned chicken into the egg/hot sauce mixture.
7. Then dip the chicken into the flour mixture.
8. I forgot to take a pic of the breaded chicken before it was fried. Sorry. Next time I make it I will add the pic. I didn't have a lot of oil so I used this small pot and fried the chicken in batches. 4 at a time for about 7-8 minutes, until they become a nice golden brown.
These are amazingly delicious and I usually serve them with my own homemade honey mustard sauce or my Jack Daniels BBQ sauce