Sunday, June 9, 2013

Beer-Battered Chicken Tenders

OMG! I've created the perfect beer batter recipe! The perfect golden and crispy on the outside, but nice and bready and chewy on the inside. Let's go crazy! Fry everything! Chicken, fish, cheese, oreos! Ok, so maybe not everything. I started with chicken tenders. And then I went for mozzarella sticks. All good. Next stop: fish and chips! Yes, I'm headed out this week to buy some nice white fish. This is the perfect batter for those fish and chips cravings. Ok, so it's not perfect but it's pretty close. It's definitely nice and crispy but still a thicker batter, unlike the tempura types. And you can fry it in almost anything. I used a combination of beef tallow and bacon fat. Why not? It sounded good to me. And it worked like a charm. If you're one of those paleos/primals watching carbs, this may not be the best recipe for you. I've got several in the works that are lower carbs. My blog probably looks like that's all I eat, but it's definitely not the case. So my promise is that my next post will be low carb! And no dairy. I've been trying to cut back myself. And then I created this concoction and had a whole block of delicious whole milk mozzarella in the fridge just begging to be turned into crispy little mozzarella sticks dipped in marinara... But I digress. On with the recipe!

Beer-Battered Chicken Tenders
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
4 tbsp Redbridge beer (or another preferred gluten-free beer)
1 cup tapioca flour, more or less (plus more for coating)
¼ tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil or fat of choice for frying
1 lb chicken tenders, rinsed and gently patted dry

Combine the egg and baking powder in a medium bowl and mix together thoroughly. Add beer and mix. Add the seasonings in and then the tapioca flour slowly, stirring until the mixture becomes slightly thickened. Use more or less to get the right consistency. The batter might look very runny, but when it settles it will thicken quite a bit so stir thoroughly before adding more tapioca. Too thick and the batter won't cook all the way through. Too thin and the batter won't cover as well. The consistency of the batter will look very odd--science-experiment odd, like a strange mixture of a goopy gel and liquid all in one. Don't panic; this is normal. You're doing it right. Heat the oil/fat in a small, deep-sided skillet or wok; at least an inch and half or so. When you drop the food in, you will want at least two-thirds of it submerged. In a small shallow bowl, place about ⅓ - ½ cup of tapioca flour. Dredge a chicken tender through the flour and then in the batter. When fully-covered, quickly drop into the hot oil (it's runny so you have to work quick to try and avoid some drips). Cook 2-4 minutes and flip when the edges are golden brown. Cook another 2-4 minutes. Use a thermometer to check that the chicken is cooked to 160°F and remove from oil. Drain on paper towels if desired. Use the time to gauge how long the other tenders need to cook. Repeat until all tenders are fried. Serve with preferred dipping sauce!*

*For honey mustard pictured, use ⅓ cup all natural yellow mustard with 1-2 tsp local honey (more or less to taste).