Fast forward through several weeks of torment to this Sunday. I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and with a little research, managed to pretty closely replicate the amazing wondrousness that is the Chick Fil A chicken nugget in my own kitchen. Yes, you read right, you too can make your own knock off Chick Fil A with just a little help from my recipe.
Start by cutting 1 lb. of chicken breast (or tenders) to bite size chunks (about 1 inch square). Put them into a ziplock bag with 2 cups of pickle juice and roll out as much of the air as possible . Yes, pickle juice. This brines the chicken and keeps it moist during the cooking process. It's best if you can let this sit for around 12 hours.
Drain off the pickle juice and add 3/4 cup milk and 1 egg to the bag. Combine well to coat all the pieces of chicken. Again, squeeze the air out and let this sit for about 3 hours.
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups all purpose whole wheat flour, 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon white pepper, and 1 tablespoon granulated garlic. Mix well and set aside. This is going to be the breading for your nuggets.
In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of peanut oil to around 350 degrees fahrenheit. Ideally, you'll want to use a candy thermometer to monitor the temp of the oil as your cooking. If your oil gets too hot, it'll start to smoke, if it gets too cold, you'll end up with oily chicken.
Taking about 4 pieces of chicken at a time, coat them thoroughly with the flour mixture and place them in the oil. Don't try to cook too many pieces at once or you'll drop your oil temp too quickly. Each batch takes about 6-8 minutes - cook until golden brown (I use a meat thermometer to check random pieces periodically and make sure they're cooked to 165 degrees).
I made two dipping sauces to accompany them - a healthy buffalo ranch and a knock off Chick Fil A sauce.
To create the ranch, combine 1/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons lowfat milk, 1 tablespoon Penzey's Buttermilk Ranch seasoning mix, 1 teaspoon toasted minced onion, salt, pepper and tabasco sauce to taste. If you eat the entire batch, you're looking at about 70 calories - no too bad compared to Hidden Valley.