Saturday, July 24, 2010

Buffalo Popcorn Chicken Bites

These are incredibly delicious! We all love them.

Vegetable oil, for frying
2 ½ cups complete pancake mix, any brand
1 ¼ cups water
8 teaspoons hot sauce (recommended: Frank's hot sauce)
1 ¼ pounds chicken tenders or chicken breast, cut into small bite-size pieces
2 scallions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 cup store-bought good-quality refrigerated blue cheese dressing
Cut celery sticks

In a deep-sided skillet, heat 1 ½ inches of vegetable oil over medium heat, to 350°F - 375°F. (Note: I like to get the chicken bites soaking in the hot sauce now so they pick up more of the flavor—but the actual directions put this step later. Do whichever you prefer.)

While the oil is heating, make the batter. In a wide mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the pancake mix, 1 ¼ cups water, and about 6 teaspoons hot sauce. (Use a regular teaspoon you eat with—that’s what Rachael Ray does.)

Place the remaining ½ cup pancake mix in another wide mixing bowl. Arrange the batter and the bowl of dry pancake mix near the cooktop and the heating oil. Line a plate with a few sheets of paper towels and keep within reach.

Once the oil is heated and ready, toss the chicken pieces in the remaining 2 teaspoons hot sauce, then toss them in the dry pancake mix, coating evenly and shaking off any excess. The plain dry pancake mix will help the batter stick to the chicken pieces. Add some of chicken to the batter. You are going to want to work in 3 to 4 batches coating and frying. Using a fork, toss the bites in the batter. Remove the first batch from the batter, shaking off the excess batter as you carefully add them to the hot oil. Fry for 2 minutes on the first side, or until it’s a deep golden brown all over. Remove from the oil, and drain on the paper towel-lined plate; season with salt to taste. Repeat until all the popcorn chicken bites are fried.

Stir the scallion and black pepper into the blue cheese dressing. Serve the chicken bites immediately with the dipping sauce. Garnish the platter with celery sticks.

Recipe Source: Rachael Ray (from Food Network Favorites)

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