Ok, ok, ok.
So far, we’ve had two chicken meals from one chicken breast and I decided to splurge tonight and use the *entire* other breast for a special meal for my dear one – General Tso’s Chicken. I started by cutting the breast up into small chunks and dredged it in egg and then flour seasoned with garlic, onion, pepper and ginger.
Here’s my favorite way to bread something – you dredge it first with flour and then you let it sit and dry for a bit before dredging it *again*.
It makes a delightfully thick ‘crust’ on that which is being dredged.
This time, however, after the lovely chicken chunks had time to air, I dipped them back in the egg and then – wait for it – seasoned Panko crumbs.
I know not what Panko is, how to properly pronounce it or whether it’s “Panko Crumbs” or just plain “Panko” – but I have fallen deeply in love with its effect on my breaded foods. Deeply, I say. What a culinary revelation.
I love culinary revelations.
When the nuggets (because ‘nugget’ sounds much more inviting than ‘chunk’) were all double coated, they looked as though they had been visited by hoar frost…
Either hoar frost, or the Shredded Wheat Fairy…
The nuggets were set on a tray, covered with plastic wrap and sent to wait in the frigid-air for a while.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I started a big pot of brown rice (because we’re being thrifty here, cooking enough rice for two meals at one time – clever, clever!) and took out a bag of green beans I had frozen a couple of weeks ago. They weren’t ready to be cooked quite yet, but I prepped them with about 1/8 cup of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger.
When the rice was about 15 minutes from being done, I got out my Big Cast Iron Skillet, and I heated up some frying oil. I LOVE frying things. LOVE, I say. I don’t know about you – and I would certainly love to hear from you – but I reuse my frying oil and mix *clean* left-over oils in with it. Does that sound gross? I have a little bit of vegetable shortening in my jar, some coconut oil and some hard chicken fat I scraped from the top of a stock a made. It works rather well, I think, and stores in the fridge very comfortably until I need it. The strained blend of oils doesn’t smoke or go bad and again, it’s thrifty. Do you realize how expensive fat is? It’s one of the more expensive things to purchase.
Anywho- after all that rant, I think the oil has been heated quite enough, thank you.
The nuggets (now dry from their stay in the fridge) were rescued from the cold and lovingly fried in the hot oil until well-browned and crisp – yum! As I was frying them, I turned on the green beans so that they could cook up and I experienced of those rare, incredibly satisfying moments when I knew everything would be done together and on time.
Oh. My. Word.
It’s gorgeous. I could eat it all over again.
*if I do say so myself*
Lightly touched with “General Tso Sauce” – they were delicious. I will never use anything other than that Panko stuff for the rest of my life – it’s so crunchy!!
This meal more than filled two very hungry people for less than $1.50 each (including the green beans and rice…) and the chicken itself weighed in at about 300 calories a serving. This calculation didn’t include the fat needed for frying. I’m not sure how to count that, really… I decided not to care in favor of frying them into small bites of happiness…