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Buffalo Gals Won’t You Come Out Tonight? February 17, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, random stuff.
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Well, what would you call a post about Spicy Chicken Tenders paired with Buffalo Potato Wedges?  Yeah, I thought so.  😉

There’s just something about Buffalo wings, isn’t there?  I don’t eat them often, but when I do, I’m just stunned by how much I enjoy them.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had some nasty wings – greasy or under- or over-cooked, and just plain crappy sauce.  But when you get real, honest-to-goodness Buffalo wings, they can be mighty good.  Hey, it’s upstate New York – what can I say?  When in Rome, I guess. . . 🙄

Anyway, now that I’ve actually invested in a deep fryer, I am pretty much avoiding fried foods at all costs, while the fryer sits in the basement and gathers dust.

I’ve got A Recipe A Day bookmarked, and I like to check in every week or so and see what’s cooking.  A couple of weeks ago, Nancy posted a recipe for spicy chicken tenders that intrigued me, so I decided that we should give it a try – we all like spicy, and we’ve got a pile of chicken tenders in the freezer that I’ve wanted to use up, so why not?

Meanwhile, I had also stumbled on the recipe for Buffalo potato wedges at Recipezaar, and the two just seemed like a perfect match.  😀

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So the first thing we did was wedge up a few baking potatoes, toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper and a little garlic powder, then place them in a single layer on a foil-lined sheet pan.

The potatoes went into a 375° oven for at least half an hour – until they’re tender.

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Meanwhile, we mixed up some “potato sauce” – 1/2 stick of butter (or margarine), melted plus a half cup of Frank’s Red Hot sauce – the stuff that’s typically used in Buffalo wings.  😀

The sauce just sits in a bowl until the potatoes are done.

Now, moving on to the tenders.  Since we’re not deep-frying them, we want to try to ensure a crispy, flavorful coating without all the fat.  If I wanted fat, I’d just fry the damn things.

The recipe says to bread the chicken, then broil it.  OK.

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Breading consists of a couple of cups of panko bread crumbs (nice and crispy, just going in!), seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper and a healthy sprinkle of cayenne.

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Now we look to something to actually stick the panko mixture to the actual chicken.  The breading can be as tasty as it wants, but if it falls off the  chicken before it gets to your mouth, well, all the flavor in the world is pretty meaningless.  🙄

Stir together 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, a couple of Tablespoons of the Frank’s Red Hot, and a healthy dose of cayenne.

If you clicked on the original recipe, you may have noticed that I’ve kind of “kicked it up” a bit.  That’s OK – as written it’s pretty mild.  If you like mild, by all means, feel free to kick it back down.  😉

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So your basic breading technique – roll the pieces of chicken in the “batter” then dredge in the bread crumbs.

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Then let them rest on another foil-lined baking sheet.

I’m not taking any chances here – wasteful as it may be to line the baking sheets with foil, it’s really a gigantic pain to scrub burned cayenne pepper sauce off the pans.  And it probably takes more energy to heat the water to get the pans clean than it does to make the foil anyway.  😯

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By now the potatoes should be fairly tender – at this point, we pulled them out, dumped them in a big mixing bowl, and tossed with the “wing” sauce that we had made earlier.

Then the whole mess goes back on the (foil-lined!) baking sheet, with any additional sauce drizzled over.

And we fire up the broiler.  😯

Then the sheet of potatoes, along with the sheet of chicken both go in the oven, under a “low” broiler, until the chicken is completely cooked (because un-completely cooked chicken is just nasty!) and the potatoes start to crisp.  Hopefully.  🙄

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OK, so here’s the thing.  Everything was cooked.  And tasty enough.  But if we did this again, we’d do it differently.  See, broiling the panko-breaded chicken led to slightly charred chicken, rather than nicely browned chicken.

And meanwhile, the time that it took the chicken tenders to slightly char was not enough time for the potatoes to nicely brown.

And again, while tasty enough, the texture just wasn’t all it could be.  😥

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I think, rather than mess with the broiler at all, next time, I’d just leave the whole mess at the original 375° and let them bake until they’re crispy, browned, cooked through, uncharred, whatever it takes for the component part to be at its best.

Imperfect as it was, though, it made a darned tasty dinner served with carrot and celery sticks, along with a ranch dipping sauce made with light mayonnaise and sour cream.

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Yes, I know.  Bleu cheese dressing is traditional with the whole Buffalo wing motif.  But I just can’t do moldy cheese.  😯

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