Panko & Chili Crusted Oven Fried Chicken Fingers
We’ve been challenged!
That’s right! The good folks from Breakstone’s threw down the gauntlet, and we picked it right up (mice love found things, after all). Here’s the scoop on The Breakstone’s Triple Churned Challenge.
Breakstone’s challenged me and three other gals to create an appetizer, entree, and dessert using their Triple Churned Sour Cream.
This contest is sponsored by Breakstone’s and the winner will be chosen by reader vote. Readers can vote for their favorite recipes here once a day. The grand prize is $3,000 (how cool is that?)!
And every time you vote, you’ll be entered to win a $300. The more you vote, the greater your chances to win. (Thanks, Breakstone’s!)
I’ll be posting one recipe a week between now and April 14th. This is the first of my three recipes.
Oven fried! Wait, what?
As much as I love (love, love) fried food, this is one of my all-time favorite ways to cook chicken.
These chicken fingers are crunchy, just like they’ve been fried. But because they’re baked in the oven, they’re healthier for you.
The crust is a combination of eggs, sour cream, and panko breadcrumbs. The eggs and sour cream meld together to form a coating that’s crisp on the outside—and keeps the chicken moist and juicy on the inside.
Seasoning these little guys twice (once on the meat itself, then again in the breadcrumbs), helps you build layers of glorious, chili-infused flavor. Adjust the amount of chili powder up or down, depending on how spicy you like it.
You can serve these chicken fingers straight up as an appetizer—or cut them into bite-sized nibbles if you’re feeding a larger group.
You could even serve them satay-style. Just run a wooden skewer through them before they go in the oven. (I mean, who doesn’t love chicken on a stick?)
The best part? The leftovers make a killer chicken parm sub.
Just nestle one or two pieces in a toasted roll, top with a little tomato sauce, a slice or two of provolone, and pop it under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
Chicken tenders vs. whole chicken breast
I almost always use chicken tenders for this recipe because they’re usually pretty cheap at our local market.
You can also make these with chicken breast that you slice into a few strips. Just adjust the time a little depending on how big you cut the pieces.
Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
This cool, creamy dressing is a great counterpoint to the spicy, crunchy chicken fingers. I made it with Maytag blue cheese, but use your favorite kind.
I don’t add any extra salt to the dip. The blue cheese has plenty already.
If blue cheese isn’t your thing, these would also be great with ranch dressing.
About panko breadcrumbs
I used panko breadcrumbs (Japanese breadcrumbs made from crustless white bread) instead of regular breadcrumbs because they tend to stay crisper. And because they’re larger than regular breadcrumbs, they give you a nice, substantial crust.
A lot of larger, chain grocery stores carry panko these days. They’re usually in the international food section or hidden in with the regular breadcrumbs.
Alrighty. To the ovens!
Panko & Chili Crusted Oven Fried Chicken Fingers with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
2 lbs. chicken tenders
1 Tbls. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup flour
1 cup Breakstone’s Triple Churned sour cream
2 extra-large eggs
8 oz. panko bread crumbs
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbls. dried parsley flakes
1/2 cup buttermilk blue cheese (SUCH AS MAYTAG)
1/4 cup Breakstone’s Triple Churned sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice
freshly cracked black pepper
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer
Make the dressing
Do this first. You want to let it sit for a little while to let the flavors meld. Grab your blue cheese. Crumble it up with a fork.
Measure out the crumbles and put them in a bowl.
Add the sour cream.
And a little freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
Mash it all together with a fork.
I like to leave mine a little chunky, but smash up the cheese as much as you like.
Scoop the dressing out into a serving bowl. Garnish with a little extra black pepper, if you like. Cover and pop it in the fridge until your chicken is done.
Preheat your oven
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil or parchment paper (or both for really easy clean up). Set it aside.
Season the breadcrumbs
Mix together until well combined. Set aside while you deal with the chicken.
Season the chicken
Grab your chicken tenders. Give them a rinse under cold water. Pat them dry. Toss them in a gallon-sized zip-top bag.
Toss in the chili powder and the salt.
Seal the bag well. Smoosh the chicken around to coat it evenly with the spices.
Seasoning the chicken like this—under the crust—helps ensure that it’ll have plenty of flavor.
Add the flour to the bag.
Seal the bag well. Smoosh the chicken around again to coat in flour.
Make the batter
Crack your eggs in a medium-sized bowl.
Beat them well with a whisk.
Beat well to incorporate.
The mixture will be thick. (Like, very thick.)
Bread the chicken
Grab your seasoned chicken, dish of breadcrumbs, bowl of batter, and lined sheet pan.
Take a piece of chicken and shake it to knock off excess flour.
Dip it into the batter to coat it on all sides.
Resign yourself: You’re going to get a little sticky.
Drop the battered chicken into the seasoned breadcrumbs.
Turn it over a few times to coat the chicken.
When it looks like it’s wearing a fluffy little sweater, set it aside on your prepared pan.
Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
Bake the chicken
When all your chicken is breaded, pop the pan into your preheated 425-degree oven.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the breading is lightly browned.
Your final cooking time will vary depending on how thick your chicken tenders are.
Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve with blue cheese dressing on the side.
You can vote daily, and be entered to win $300.