Homemade garlic chicken nuggets
Baked in a crisp crust and served hot, these garlicky chicken bites are irresistible.
Those times when I need to pull a meal together fast and don't want to think about it too much, I reach into my freezer and usually find chicken breast. It's a meat that thaws out quickly, cooks up quickly, and almost everyone likes it. I like to keep different cuts of it on hand. Thinly sliced chicken fillets dipped into batter and fried are standard Israeli fare; sliced into strips and marinated, the same fillets make great stir-fry. Occasionally, I ask the butcher to use that razor-sharp knife of his to cut the chicken into bite-sized chunks. Those, I season with a garlicky spice blend, roll in bread crumbs and pop into the oven until they're crisp outside and tender inside.
I suggest forking one out of the oven at about 10 minutes into the cooking and cutting into it. You'll judge if the nuggets are done or if they need another 5 or 7 minutes. Served with a mustard dip (1/2 good quality mayonnaise and 1/2 mustard, 1 teaspoon soy sauce optional), the nuggets make a good hot appetizer or snack. If you plan a meal around them, you'll need lots of salad and a starchy side dish. Children especially enjoy this dish, but it doesn't last long enough to get cold when served to grownups, either.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or 6 turkey breast fillets, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced finely
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
Place the chicken chunks in a bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic and spices; mix well.
Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475° F (250° C).
Place the bread crumbs on a platter. Roll the poultry chunks around to coat them.
Arrange the chunks in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment.
Drizzle the chunks with a thread of olive oil. You'll probably have a little oil left over from marinating the chicken; it's fine to use that.
Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Serve with a mustard dip.