Thursday, March 27, 2014

Homemade Chicken Tenders and Succotash


Yep, you read that right...succotash.  One of Jerry's favorite side dishes and repeat requests, so I decided to finally bite the bullet and give it a whirl.

The one minor issue was that not only have I never eaten succotash before but I've never made it either and I didn't even have a recipe to go off of, all Jerry gave me was corn, Lima beans and bacon in a roux.  It was quite an adventure!  (At least as far as the kitchen is concerned!)

But, before I get into the succotash, I'll start with the tenders as they took a little longer to cook, so I made those first.

These homemade chicken tenders are an all-time favorite of our family, kids and adults, alike, requested often and received with cheers of joy (bet you can picture Jerry doing his happy dance right now)!

Luckily for you and I, both, they are pretty low maintenance, the tenders that is.

I started with fresh tenders today, but often thaw out frozen tenders as they are a staple in our freezer. Only other required ingredients are fried onion crisps and some flour.


For eight tenders, I used 2 cups of the fried onion crisps and 2 tablespoons of flour.  Pour them into a re-sealable bag and crush, I use my trusty, under-utilized rolling pin for a uniform crush.


This ratio of onions to flour is actually quite important, as the flour is there just to fill in the small spaces between the crushed onion pieces.  If there is too much flour, it will soak up the moisture from the surface area of the chicken before the delicious, crispy onions can adhere which will result in bland, floured tenders and not delicious crispy, oniony tenders as intended.


Place half of the moist tenders, either from their own juices, water or a milk/egg wash, if you prefer, into the bag with the crushed fried onion crisps and flour, toss to coat and then take them out and place them on a foil-lined pan

Bake the tenders at 400 F for about 20 minutes! It's that easy!




Enter, succotash experiment.


Bacon was up first on the list, can't really go wrong with 5 slices of bacon as your starting point.  After pouring out some of the bacon fat, one chopped onion was added to the pan, over medium heat, to soften before creating the roux.

To create the roux, 2 tablespoons of flour were added to the onion and bacon fat to cook.  Then, vegetable broth was added, a couple tablespoons at a time, while whisking constantly, until nearly two cups of broth were added to achieve the desired consistency.


This is where I fell short, according to Jerry's memory, there should have been at least double the roux.  It was ok by me, but I'll revise accordingly next time around.


Finally, 1 lb of frozen corn, thawed, and 1 lb of frozen Lima beans, thawed, and one tablespoon hot sauce were added to the roux and folded together together before being topped with the beloved bacon, which was  snipped with a kitchen shears.


A word about Lima beans...I've only ever been exposed to canned Lima beans, which are generally pretty mushy, so thankfully Jerry requested frozen Lima beans, they were much better than their canned counterparts.

The tenders were devoured, per usual.  The succotash was sweet (from the corn), smoky (thanks to the bacon) and creamy (compliments of the roux). I am intrigued enough by this side dish, that I'll probably give it another try, might be the best way to serve lima beans.


RECIPE

Homemade Chicken Tenders
8 chicken tenders
2 cups of the fried onion crisps
2 tablespoons of flour

Preheat oven to 400 F.
Crush the fried onion crisps in a resealable bag.
Add half of the tenders, toss to coat, place onto foil lined pan.
Coat the other half of the tenders, add to pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Succotash
5 slices of bacon
1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of vegetable broth (added a few tablespoons at a time)
1 lb of frozen corn, thawed
1 lb of frozen Lima beans, thawed
1 tablespoon hot sauce 

Fry bacon and set aside.
Use some of the bacon fat to sautee the onions.
Add the flour and whisk in the vegetable broth a few tablespoons at a time, while stirring constantly, until desired texture and volume are achieved.
Fold in the corn, lima beans and hot sauce before topping with the bacon.