I had an opportunity over the last few weeks to sample a number of products from a company called Just BARE Chicken. The chicken they sell is all natural, antibiotic, hormone, and cage free while also being vegetable fed. All excellent lifestyle options for the chicken you serve to posses, but the really cool thing is that you can trace your dinner back to the family farm that raised it.
The majority of my chicken came from farm code 054. When entering this special identifier on the Just BARE Chicken website it brought up Ken and Evelyn K’s farm. Ken and Evelyn have been raising chickens in Minnesota since 1985 and they state that, “Everything on earth comes from the earth. So we need to protect it so our grandchildren have a healthy place to live.” Of course that sentiment caused me to have a great big “awe” moment.
With the exception of the chicken legs that I sampled (I’m just not a chicken leg fan), I really enjoyed all of meals I made with this product. It tasted great and consistently yielded very tender and flavorful chicken dishes. My favorite creation was made with several packages of Just BARE Chicken chicken tenders. Using an original recipe from Elise, of Simply Recipes, I soaked the tenders overnight in a mixture of onions, herbs, spices, and buttermilk. Then fried them in a savory coating until they were golden brown.
The few times I’ve fried food I usually ruin whatever I’m wearing with rogue oil splatter, but for once I actually remembered to sport my pretty pink protective apron. I was actually quite proud of myself. Since I fry food on very rare occasions I took advantage of the naughty opportunity and breaded the leftover strained onions from the marinade and produced a small side of crispy and spicy onion rings as well. The chicken tenders were finally paired with a creamy and tangy honey-mustard sauce for a seriously moist, satisfying, and rare treat.
Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders
Adapted from the Buttermilk Fried Chicken recipe originally published at Simply Recipes
2 pounds of chicken tenders
2 cups buttermilk
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, thyme) or a teaspoon each of the dried herbs.
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
2 cups grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil such as canola oil, or peanut oil
Soak chicken overnight (at least 8 hours and up to two days) in buttermilk with onions, herbs, paprika, and cayenne pepper.
Drain in colander, leaving some herbs on chicken. In a large paper or plastic (sturdy) bag, mix flour with seasonings. Meanwhile, heat 2 cups oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet (cast iron, stainless steel, or anodized aluminum – something that can take the heat) on medium high heat until a pinch of flour starts to sizzle when dropped in the hot oil (but not so hot that the pan is smoking). Remember when working with hot oil, always have a pan lid close by.
Place chicken pieces in bag with flour and shake until thoroughly coated. Add chicken tenders to hot pan and fry for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown, turning once. (Erin’s Note: I found that the chicken cooked very quickly. Mine were consistently done in 4 minutes. But depending on the size and thickness of your chicken please adjust the cooking time accordingly).
Use tongs to remove chicken from pan. Place on a rack over a cookie sheet or broiling pan for the excess oil to drain. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
Adapted from the TGI Friday’s Honey Mustard recipe at CDKitchen.com
2 tablespoons mustard
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl with a wire whisk and serve.