Every so often I get a real hankering for fried chicken strips!
Chicken strips are one of those comfort foods that are so crave-able. I used to make them once in a while with panko and vegetable oil (before I knew better). But now that I have completely quit eating vegetable oils and all commercial wheat products I had to modify that old recipe a little. I think my new and improved chicken strips are blog-worthy! These are not the boring old chicken strips that taste only of fryer oil and need buckets of sweet sauce to be palatable. Instead, the chicken is seasoned with Italian herbs and garlic and the crispy crust has a cheesy tang from the Parmesan and sourdough.
You will want to try these improved chicken strips!
Making Chicken Strips at Home
The process for making chicken strips at home is pretty straightforward.
You will want to start with fresh, organic, and pastured chicken breast. If you don’t grow your own chickens for eating, a good place to shop for healthy chicken is at your local farmer’s market. While it’s true that organic pastured chicken is more expensive, you can feel confident that you are supporting the ethical treatment of meat animals and that your money is spent in support of a local farmer. Not to mention how much better for you pastured animals are!
These Chicken Strips Are Breaded Using the Dry-Wet-Dry Method.
For the first dry coating, the cut and seasoned breast strips are rolled in finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Then they get a wet coating of beaten eggs.
They then get the last dry coating of sourdough bread crumbs before being fried.
Choosing a Healthy Fryer Oil
Deep-fried foods are so appealing to our palates for several reasons. Our bodies crave fats; fats carry fat-soluble vitamins, provide the building blocks for our cells and hormones, and deliver an extremely concentrated source of energy. They make us feel satiated and keep hunger at bay for long periods of time. That is why it’s so important to choose healthy fats for cooking and frying.
Saturated and Monounsaturated Fats Are in, Polyunsaturated Fats Are Out!
Saturated fats are found naturally in our environment. Butter, lard, tallow, poultry fat, coconut oil, and palm oil are all examples of saturated fats. They need minimal processing and are very shelf stable.
Monounsaturated fats come from healthy full-fat plants like olive, almond, pecan, cashew, peanut, and avocado. They can be extracted by cold-pressing and do not go rancid easily.
Polyunsaturated fats come from vegetable oils like soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower. They are extremely delicate and prone to become rancid and full of free radicals when exposed to heat extraction and processing solvents. Basically they are damaged before they reach the store or restaurant shelf. Further degradation occurs during the hydrogenation process (turning liquid polyunsaturated oils into solid oils). The oils are then subjected to metal catalysts, hydrogen gas, more heat, soap-like emulsifiers, bleach, added coloring, and added flavors.
Do yourself a favor and quit eating polyunsaturated oil!
Lard and coconut oil are both saturated fats that are perfect for deep-frying. These are my first choices for frying at a high heat.
Avocado oil is a monounsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fats are fairly stable and can be used with heat for cooking. Avocado oil has a high smoke point of 500°F, making it a great choice for the occasional frying project.
For more information on which fats you should be eating please read,
Fry It Up!
Healthy fat is heated in a Dutch oven and the breaded chicken strips are fried.
The strips are turned over in the oil and finished on the other side to a golden brown.
Cool the crispy chicken strips on a wire rack or absorbent towels.
- 2 large chicken breasts (at least 16 ounces total)
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, about 1 cup grated
- 2 to 3 whole eggs, beaten
- 2 cups sourdough bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- 1 teaspoon dried garlic granules
- 2 cups lard, or other healthy frying fat like avocado oil, tallow, coconut oil, or ghee.
- Add the grated Parmesan cheese to your food processor or blender and puree it until it forms a fine powder. Remove the cheese powder to a plate and set it aside.
- Tear up several pieces of stale sourdough bread and add them to the food processor. Pulse the bread until a sandy consistency is reached. Remove the bread crumbs to a separate plate and set them aside.
- Cut each chicken breast lengthwise into four or five long strips. Season the cut chicken with the salt, herbs, and garlic.
- Add the eggs to a bowl and beat them well. Start with two eggs, you can always add a third if needed.
- Add the fat/oil to a large deep cast iron. I use my Dutch oven. The oil should be about 1 inch deep. Heat oil to around 400°F over medium to medium-high heat. If the oil starts to smoke it's too hot!
- Working one at a time, take a chicken strip and roll it in the Parmesan cheese. Then coat it gently with beaten eggs. Finally roll the strip in your sourdough bread crumbs. Set that strip to the side of the plate and do the same breading technique to three more strips.
- Once four strips have been breaded, gently lay them into the hot oil. Fry the chicken on the first side until it is golden brown. Do not disturb the chicken or move it around in the pan.
- Once the chicken is browned nicely on the first side, use tongs or a spatula to carefully flip the chicken. Fry on the second side until evenly browned.
- While the chicken is cooking you can start to bread the second batch.
- Remove the golden-brown chicken strips from the pan and cool them on a wire rack or on absorbent towels.
Want To Learn Everything About Sourdough?
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