DJ Foodielow-carb, low carb, sugar free, sugar-free, gluten-free, gluten free, primal, paleo

Chicken Nuggets

Prep: 15 min | Cook: 15 min | Total: 30 min | Servings:8..

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Here's a fun one, and one that's likely to delight the whole family! I had some friends over when I made this and asked them to honestly tell me if they could tell that they've been de-carbed. They all agreed that there was no lack of flavor and that they were as good, if not better than, the real carb-full thing.

These are a bit messy to make, but I agree with my friends. They were outstanding. In fact, I was frankly caught a little off guard by how wonderful these little chicken nibblets turned out to be. They were golden brown, flavorful, had a spectacular texture and were full of moist and juicy goodness.

Normally, the procedure for breading and frying would be dredge in seasoned flour (to help the eggs adhere to the "goodie"). Then, it would go into an egg bath, followed by being dredged in a seasoned bread crumb mixture. From there, it would be fried (usually in some kind of vegetable oil garbage).

We're going to right several of those wrongs, by eliminating wheat, an overwhelming majority of the carbs and then fry them in a healthy, stable, high temperature fat.

Dredge Note: I REALLY thought about dredging these in coconut flour, prior to placing them in the egg bath. It would have made them very very slightly "sweet", but... virtually undetectable in flavor. The idea was to help the eggs and almond meal/parmesan mixture adhere to the "nuggets" with a little more intensity. I opted to go for a more pure Mediterranean flavor and skipped that step. It turns out that it wasn't necessary!

Fat Note: Good "high smoke point" oils for frying are: coconut oil, lard palm oil, and clarified butter (ghee). Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and manmade trans-fats. Processed oils like canola, corn, vegetable and soybean should be avoided.

Note: Photo is taken with Homemade BBQ Sauce, but these are also EXCELLENT with Marinara made with San Marzano Tomatoes.

. .
IngredientsCaloriesFatProteinCarbsFiberSA'sNet Carbs
1 cup (216g)  high smoke point oil (see recipe notes)191021600000
1 1/2 cup (168g)  almond flour (Buy Now) 96084363618018
1 cup (100g)  parmesan cheese, finely grated43129384004
2 tsp (2g)  fresh oregano (thyme, rosemary, sage and/or marjoram), rough chop2.02.04.12.48.2800.2
4 each (12g)  garlic clove, minced16004004
1 large (50g)  egg7256.5.5000.5
1 1/2 lbs (681g)  boneless chicken (I used breast, but thigh will work, as well - skin is optional), cut into cubes1171.3261.29143.010000
salt, fresh cracked black pepper and chile flakes, to taste0000000
Totals (of 8 Servings):4562.34395.33g223.63g44.98g18.28g0g26.7g
Per Serving:570.2949.42g27.95g5.62g2.29g0g3.34g *

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oil to a temperature between 325 and 350 degrees, in a wide skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. While the oil heats, in a large and wide-mouthed bowl mix your almond meal, parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper and optional chile flakes. (I actually used a large wide Tupperware with a lid) Remove half of the mixture and set aside in a small bowl.
  3. In third bowl, whisk together your egg with 2 tbsp. cold water. Add a little salt and pepper.
  4. Add your cubed chicken to the eggs and mix well.
  5. To the best of your ability, spread the almond meal mixture evenly along the bottom of your large bowl or container.
  6. Evenly drop the chicken cubes around the almond meal mixture, so that they don't really touch one another.
  7. Dust the tops of the cubed chicken with the remaining almond meal mixture.
  8. Shake the chicken. If you've got a lid, add the lid and shake shake shake, Senora. Otherwise, just get in there and make sure the nuggets are evenly coated. If all the dredge doesn't fully stick, just let it sit for a few minutes, then give it another mix. Some of the moisture will continue to collect on the surface and little more will stick. Alternately, you can literally just "squeeze" it on, by applying pressure with your palms.
  9. Once the nuggets are evenly coated, carefully drop them evenly into their own spots within the heated oil. At this point, you probably want to increase the temperature of the burner, as the chicken will drop the temperature of the oil. (be careful not to let the oil go much higher than 350 F, however).
  10. As one side turns golden brown, flip them to the other side. Continue frying and turning until they are cooked through and golden brown.
  11. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a towel to absorb any extra fat.
  12. Note: If you chose to do a deep fry, rather than a pan fry, as long as your oil never went above 350 F, you can strain it through a coffee filter and re-use one more time. BE CAREFUL not to burn yourself.
  13. Serve!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition ...

Post a Comment


Posted by DJ on Nov 26, 2014, 12:31 AM EST
Keri, yep! Just drizzle them with a bit of fat before baking. No problemo! I like lard, personally ... Coconut oil is a great choice, but I personally find the flavor to be overwhelming ...
 
Posted by Keri on Nov 02, 2014, 11:37 AM EST
Can you bake these instead of frying? And if frying for treat what oil do you prefer?
 
Posted by DJ on Jul 24, 2014, 12:33 PM EST
My pleasure, Katrina! I'm glad you've found some inspiration here! :)
 
Posted by Katrina on Jul 23, 2014, 04:13 PM EST
LOVE this recipe....and all of your recipes :). Just used this idea (almond flour with seasonings) to fry some fish.....yummy!! Living in South Lousiana is hard when you can't eat fried fish! Thanks so much for saving me :)
 
Posted by DJ on Jul 21, 2014, 07:42 PM EST
Hi Ken, a few reasons ... 1. if it's too hot, you wind up with chicken that's overcooked on the outside and raw in the middle. 2. Even some of the highest smoke point oils can start turning funky and degrading over 350 F. This is bad for you, from a healthy standpoint, as well as flavor. It starts to take on a bitter/smokey/burnt taste from the oil. 3. It's just that much more dangerous! I hope this helps!
 
Posted by Ken on Jul 21, 2014, 09:22 AM EST
Why is the temperature of the oil not going over 350 degrees important?
 
Posted by DJ on Sep 08, 2013, 03:32 PM EST
Arlene ... interesting tip. Thanks for sharing! :D
 
Posted by Arlene on Sep 08, 2013, 03:28 PM EST
If you brine them in dill pickle juice first and add some cayenne and garlic to the breading mix they taste just like Chick Fil A.
 
Posted by Brooke on May 13, 2013, 11:28 AM EST
I just have to say that I made these, and my kids loved them and so did I. thats saying alot becouse my kids are the most pickiest eater ever. I really felt like I was cheating on my low carb diet. Yum thanks
 
Posted by DJ on May 08, 2013, 03:57 PM EST
Thank you, Jennifer! Oil seems to be a point of confusion for many. I'm trying to help clear up some of that confusion. :)
 
Posted by Jennifer on May 08, 2013, 03:43 PM EST
That's good to know re the oil tip at the end of your post.