My eldest daughter is quite taken with the chicken nugget. She has had them at parties and has started to ask me for them at home. Now, I am not completely militant about what they eat, they consume more than their fair share of sweet things (don’t tell the dentist) but I don’t like to put food that has most likely come from ill-treated animals, is likely to be the worst bits of those badly treated animals covered in E numbers and other nasty things that we don’t need to eat, in front them for their dinner. So, I don’t mind them having them at parties (no kid wants to seem different from the rest), but I am not going to serve them for an evening meal.
This garbled philosophy of mine – give them good things to eat but try not to make them feel different – came to a head at the weekend when we were driving past a McDonalds. My children are aged 6 and 4 and I have managed to not take them to a McDonalds yet. I know that McD has attempted to clean up their act and provide healthier food, but it still doesn’t make me want to take my children there to eat. There are lots of independent cafes and restaurants that we go to regularly so I have never felt the need to sit them down to a Big Mac and fries.
Well, on Sunday as we were driving past the golden arches, the eldest said “What is McDonalds? Everyone at school talks about it and has been?”, she said this in a voice which suggested that everyone at school might have been a bit shocked to hear that she had never been and she didn’t know what it was. Oh, the parental guilt flooded over me. Poor kid. I fear it might not be too long before I have to darken the door of our local McD.
Anyway, in the meantime and as a strategy for keeping that moment a little further in the future I made some chicken nuggets. These ones are made from organic free-range chickens, who I hope had happy (albeit short) lives.
It is hard to be precise about quantities, particularly of the breadcrumbs as it depends on how thick you like your coating to be. I double dipped mine, i.e flour, egg, breadcrumbs, back into the egg and then more breadcrumbs. You will need a thick layer of breadcrumbs on a plate. Sorry I can’t be more accurate.
One good-sized chicken breast makes about eight nuggets.
1 chicken breast
About 3 tbsp flour
salt and pepper
Chop the chicken into small chunks (two bites per nugget is about right).
Spread the flour onto a plate and season with salt and pepper.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat together.
Spread breadcrumbs in a thick layer on a plate.
Take a nugget and coat in the flour, tap gently to get rid of any excess flour. Dip into the egg, making sure it is well coated and then roll in the breadcrumbs. You can then double dip if you prefer a crunchier nugget. Dip back into the egg and roll again in the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate. Repeat with the other pieces of chicken. You can now refrigerate these until you are ready to cook.
Lightly grease a baking tray and place the nuggets onto the tray. Sprinkle lightly with oil. Place in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or towards the bottom of the Roasting Oven of the Aga for about 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is golden. Serve with a salad and hope that your children forget about burger restaurants.