There aren’t many kids who don’t adore chicken fingers. Fries have become the side dish of choice, filling up space on the plate where something healthier could be. Making your own isn’t difficult, of course – and while you’re making chicken fingers from scratch, why not? You could try salt & pepper oven fries, sweet potato fries or Parmesan ranch oven fries – all great uses of a potato. But in the fall, when tart, flavourful apples are everywhere, begging to be used, you could turn them into sweet roasted fries that make the perfect sidekick to crispy chicken fingers. Apple fries. Who knew?
Of course there’s no rule saying the fingers have to be chicken – turkey makes pretty wonderful fingers, too. If you don’t have (or like) chili sauce, try soaking chicken strips in buttermilk or thin plain yogurt (giving them a day to sit in the fridge will tenderize the meat, too); pull each piece out of the buttermilk and roll it in crumbs to coat.
Crispy Chicken Fingers with Apple “Fries”
Kids will love preparing the ‘fries’ and coating the chicken. Serve in rolled newspaper for an authentic ‘fish & chips’ feel. Thanks to the Ontario Apple Growers for this recipe!
2 cups apple cider
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. coarse salt (optional)
4 tart but firm apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges (per apple)
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
Crispy Chicken Fingers:
1 cup crushed corn flakes (or crushed whole grain flakes)
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 lb. chicken breasts, sliced into strips
2 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce (or buttermilk-enough to dip in)
In large saucepan over medium-high heat, boil cider until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 20 minutes (it should have a syrupy consistency). Remove from heat and whisk in butter and salt.
Preheat oven to 400 F. In bowl, toss apples with 2 Tbsp. of the glaze and 1/2 Tbsp. thyme. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
In bowl combine corn flake crumbs, salt and parsley. Set aside. Dip chicken strips in sweet chili sauce and then coat with corn flakes. Arrange in a single layer on a greased baking sheet.
Place chicken on the top third and the apples on the bottom third of the oven. Roast for 10 minutes. Turn chicken, drizzle apples with remaining glaze and switch baking sheets so the apples are now on the top third of oven. Continue to roast for 10 minutes and remove chicken from oven. Let chicken fingers cool while apples finish caramelizing, about 5 to 10 minutes more.
Sprinkle apples with remaining thyme and additional salt if desired. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: about 220 cal, 18 g pro, 5 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 25 g carb, 2 g fibre, 55 mg chol, 780 mg sodium. %RDI: iron 10%, calcium 2%, vit A 8%, vit C 15%