Fried Chicken Patty Fun

or another walk down memory lane for a childhood favorite - homemade chicken nuggets

I am kind of stuck in this personal retro throwback mode.  I loved a lot of the instant foods as a kid.  No matter what my mom would do to entice me otherwise I couldn't get enough boxed mac n cheese (new variations one and two here), powder based instant potatoes, and canned tomato soup with grilled cheese (as explored in last month's post).  A favorite among my friends that always stood out was chicken nuggets and there were truly few in my elementary school class that would pass up that hot lunch given the option, and that is where this exploration begins.

Recreating this one seemed like a bit of challenge since I do not own a meat grinder attachment for my stand mixer, but the market has begun to work in my favor and now I am able to regularly find ground chicken at the grocery store so I was excited to give it a go.  I started out making larger chicken patties that are excellent on their own or made into chicken burgers for a hand held meal (see variation at the end), but the recipe works just as well for those ever tempting little nuggets of deliciousness I so fondly recall.  It just comes down to the size and cook time so keep that in mind as you go along.  It's easy to adjust seasoning to your tastes, but you'll want to keep in mind the wet to dry ingredient ratio since going too far in one direction can give you either a gooey mess or a dried out hockey puck, and nobody wants to eat that.  For something they do want to eat, check this out and give it a go:

1 pound of ground chicken
1 quarter cup of whole milk
2/3 cup bread crumbs Italian style
2/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1 quarter cup Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 of a small yellow onion grated
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying

Hardware: high edged fry pan, optional - cookie sheet

1. Mix together the milk, garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Add in the ground chicken and combine with your hands. Gradually add in half of the Italian bread crumbs, half of the Panko bread crumbs, and the Parmesan cheese working it into the mixture evenly with your hands.

Toss half of the extra breadcrumbs in a bowl big enough to move one of the chicken patties around in and mix together. Form into 8 equal patties or into two inch round “nuggets.”  Put one patty in at a time and shake lightly to coat the first side, flip and repeat. Remove the patty and press both sides to help the bread crumbs stick. Place on a plate and repeat with the rest of the chicken patties, adding the remaining breadcrumbs to the bowl when it runs low. Place in the fridge while bringing oil to temp.

Bring oil to 350F or a bread cube browns in 1 min. Cook time depends on size and thickness of the patty, internal temp needs to be 165F. Flip at least every minute for even browning.  Place on a wire cooling rack if possible and salt lightly as they come out.  Test as needed for internal temp.

* For 8 patties (from 16 oz of ground chicken, so approx 2-3 oz each once all the ingredients are added) I was good with approximately 3 minutes but you will need to test this to be sure as you go. Once golden you can always toss them in the oven to finish or keep warm. 

Alternate variation: Skillet Chicken Burgers

Ingredient changes:
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp oil

Hardware changes: 
cast iron skillet, optional cookie sheet

Complete Step 1 above.

2. Form into 6 equal patties and place in the refrigerator to cool while you prep your side dishes and the cast iron skillet. Turn the oven to keep warm.

3. Add a tablespoon of oil to the skillet once it is hot and swirl it around to coat. Cook the patties 3 at a time. Sear lightly and then lower the temperature some and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes. Then flip and repeat. Once the internal temperature has reached 165F place in an oven safe dish in the oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the second batch.

Optional topping ideas (not to be used all at once!): provolone cheese (melted on top in the oven), mayo mixed with Parmesan cheese, ranch dressing, relish, lettuce, tomato, yellow onions sauteed with the burgers in the skillet…

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