Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote

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Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Mmm, mmm, mmm. Give me a plate of these and a big glass of sangria and I’m a very happy mouse. These chicken fingers are a perfect foil for one of my favorite flavor combinations: chipotle and lime. They’re hot and spicy—and a little bit tart from a few squirts of fresh lime juice. A quick dip in a side of sour cherry compote cools them off just a smidge. And adds a touch of tangy sweetness.

The flavors in this dish are big, bold, and bright. It’s hard to believe it’s so easy to make. And easy has been important these days…we just finished moving, so I’ve been focused on food that’s fast, simple, and packed with flavor. (Hooray for the new Mouse House!)

What is a sour cherry, anyway?

Good question. Sour cherries are smaller, softer, and a little squishier than sweet cherries. You can find them in stores and at farmers’ markets during the late spring and summer.


Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Because they’re so tart, they’re most often used in pies, preserves, and liqueurs. Common varieties include Montmorency, Early Richmond, and Morello.

sour-cherry

This compote is fabulous as a dipping sauce for chicken fingers, but is also yummy on turkey sandwiches, spread on toast, or spooned over vanilla ice cream.

Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

A tip on thickening the cherry compote

I used a flour/water slurry to thicken the compote. It’s important to cook the compote for a few minutes after you add the mixture. This ensures that you get rid of the raw flour taste—and gives the mixture time to fully thicken the compote.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

If you like, you could substitute a similar mixture of cornstarch and water.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote

Sour Cherry Compote
1 1/4 lbs. sour cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
juice of half a lime
1 Tbls. flour
2 Tbls. water

Yields about 2 cups of compote (more than enough to serve with the chicken fingers, and have plenty left over)

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers
1 lb. chicken tenders
juice from 1 1/2 limes
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbls. cilantro, chopped
kosher salt
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 tsp. ground chipotle
olive oil

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as an appetizer

Make the Sour Cherry Compote Ahead

You’ll want to make the compote at least a few hours ahead of time so that it can cool completely.

Grab your cherries. Pull off the stems and leaves, then pit them.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Be sure to pit them over a bowl, so you can catch any cherry juice.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

It took me maybe 15 minutes to pit all the cherries.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Put the sugar and water in a medium pot on the stove over high heat.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Whisk to combine.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Squeeze in the lime juice. Keep whisking occasionally until the sugar melts completely.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

When the sugar has totally dissolved, toss in the sour cherries, along with any juices from pitting them.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Keep the pot on high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the cherries start to really soften and break down. Stir occasionally.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

In the meanwhile, mix the flour and water together with a fork or whisk.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Be sure to beat out any lumps.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

When the cherry mixture has boiled for about 5-8 minutes, pour the slurry into the pot.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Whisk well to combine.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

The compote is ready when it coats the back of a spoon thickly. Give it a taste to be sure that any raw flour taste has cooked off. If you can still taste the flour, simmer it for another minute or two, then check it again.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. Cool to room temperature, then pop it into the fridge to chill it completely.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Make the chicken fingers

Put the chicken fingers in a medium-sized bowl.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Squeeze in the lime juice.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the chopped green onion, cilantro, garlic, and kosher salt.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Add the ground chipotle. (One teaspoon of chipotle makes these guys pretty spicy. Cut the amount in half if you’re sensitive to heat. That will still give you plenty of flavor—without making your nose sweat that much.) Toss well to coat the chicken evenly.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Drizzle the olive oil into a large, non-stick skillet. Set it on the stove over high heat for a minute or two to get nice and hot. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken fingers to the pan.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Leave the heat on high. Cook for about 3 minutes on that side.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

After about 3 minutes, they should be nice and brown on the bottom. When they look about like this, flip ’em over.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Cook for about 3 minutes on that side. Nick one of the fatter ones and take a peek to be sure that they’re cooked through. (Your final cooking time will depend on how thick your chicken tenders are. Particularly plump pieces may need a few minutes more.)

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Serve immediately, with a side of Sour Cherry Compote for dipping.

Chipotle Lime Chicken Fingers with Sour Cherry Compote at The Hungry Mouse

Enjoy!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

21 COMMENTS

  1. glad you’re settled into the new mouse house and back to posting these wonderful recipes. love the sweet/sour cherry compote as a dipping sauce. chicken w/ lime is an awesome combo. bon app ma petite souris.
    bises!

  2. Glad you’re getting settled in, I’ve always hated moving. Chipotle and lime is a great combo, but I don’t think I’ve ever had sour cherry. I’m intrigued though, the whole dish sounds wicked good.

  3. Jessie – I digg that pitter! I have it as well and it rules. Good for olives and really just about anything that size with a pit!

    Now I am sad because you reminded me of my sour cherry tree I had in my garden in Romania. There are many things that can be done with sour cherry. Your recipe here looks and I am sure TASTES delish!

    cheers!
    Gabi @ mamaliga.

  4. I have just moved and I will be making this very soon. It looks great and the chicken can be done on a weeknight! The sauce can be done on the weekend (and will hopefully not disappear before dinner during the week)! Thank you for the post. I know it is not recent, but thank you again. My creativity and desire with food has gone out the window.

  5. I have just moved and I will be making this very soon. It looks great and the chicken can be done on a weeknight! The sauce can be done on the weekend (and will hopefully not disappear before dinner during the week)! Thank you for the post. I know it is not recent, but thank you again. My creativity and desire with food has gone out the window. The inspiration that you have giving is generous!

  6. These look wonderful… found them linked from Saveur.com. We have sweet cherries coming out of our ears at the moment… how would you modify the recipe to use them instead of the sour cherries?

    Thanks!
    -Jason

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