Chicken Goujons & Creamy Dressing

  • Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves: 4
  • Level: medium

‘…is that everything on the table can be dipped in that delicious dressing. Definitely a ‘treat’ meal. Yum yum.’

Leo Williamson
'One word, 'moresome'... or is that two? This home cooked meal puts the McDonald's nugget to shame and beyond. The best bit about it...'

What you need

1 large chicken breast (250g) or the equivalent – depending on appetite

1 large bag of panko bread crumbs (200g)

2 large eggs

White plain flour

Milk

1 litre vegetable oil

 

For the herb dressing

3 tbs olive oil

1 tbs lemon juice

2 tbs chopped parsley

2 tbs chopped chives

1 tbs chopped tarragon

100ml creme fraiche

 

Equipment

Pan suitable for deep frying

Cooking thermometer



Dad's Recipe Tales

Leo will like these.

When I ask him what he fancies for dinner his answer is usually chicken goujons. (I have a dreadful suspicion these are all that sustain him outside of home.)

All of us must have a base relationship with crispy-fried breadcrumbs. Does it go back to memories of eating fish fingers at school? Or like Leo, eating ‘Happy Meal’ chicken nuggets after nursery. (Okay, I admit it – but they were very occasional!) The earliest memory I have of deep-fried food is eating scampi and fries in a basket on Redondo Pier Southern California – I still think of this as such a wonderful treat. So it was. Even now – when I might be advised against cooking such food –  I am occasionally overtaken with a compulsion to deep-fry something in breadcrumbs. Tonight it was chicken goujons.

Meanwhile, I was surprised by the amount of goujons I made from one chicken breast. I did something odd without thinking – I sliced my chicken very thin. I then started to wonder why I needed two eggs – and nearly a bag of panko. I have done a quick calculation; if a chicken breast has a surface area of 216 sq cm, cutting it into 2 cm slices will result in about 6 slices and 336 sq cm, but if it is cut into 24 slices of at 0.5 cm this will result in a surface area of 912 sq cm. That is two dozen pieces of chicken coated in nearly one square metre of coated bread crumbs…

Thus it is possible for the goujons of one chicken breast to feed four people…

How Dad Cooked It

  1. Remove the chicken skin. Place on chopping board and slice across the breast into thin slices – about 5mm.
  2. Prepare 4 bowls. Put half a cup of milk in one bowl, half a cup of flour in another, break the two eggs into another and beat lightly, finally add panko crumbs to the last bowl. Keep ingredients on hand and top-up if needed.
  3. Breadcrumb the chicken. Use two hands – keep one for wet and one for dry. Put the slices of chicken in the milk all at once. Take out a few and dredge in flour, shaking to remove excess. Then transfer to the egg and cover thoroughly, finally transfer to the bread crumbs, turning and patting to coat. Put these onto a plate and repeat until all the chicken has been used.
  4. Pour all the oil into a large pan. Ensure it is deep enough to be safe on a cooker. If a smaller pan is used, do not fill the oil more than half way up the pan. Heat the oil and using a thermometer and attempt to keep a temperature of 185C. If a thermometer is not available use a fresh white bread cube to test the heat. Using a clock with seconds hand – time from putting the cube in the oil until it turns a crisp golden brown. 60 secs will equate to roughly 175C, 40 secs will be about 190C, and 20 secs or less will be around 195C+. The danger is overheating. This will burn the oil, taint the food, distort the cooking, and increase the risk of fire. If the oil starts to smoke, turn the heat off and let it cool before heating again.
  5. Cook the chicken. Remember this recipe is using thinly sliced chicken and only needs a minute to cook. Putting in too many pieces at once lowers the temperature of the oil and will overcook the chicken before the crumbs crisp. Keep the temperature up by only frying two or three slices at a time, and remove when golden.
  6. Drain on a large plate covered in paper towels. Keep warm in a very low oven.
  7. Serve with plenty of salad, the dressing and a few sautéed potatoes.

NB: Thicker chicken slices can of course be used instead. A thicker slice of chicken will create less risk of overcooked and dried meat. There will be a higher ‘meat to fried breadcrumb ratio’ which could be considered healthier. If this is preferred the cooking time will need to be increased – and the amount of chicken eaten will invariably increase. Use 3 – 4 breasts depending on size (175g – 200g per person).

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