Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets & Onion Rings


Here’s the conundrum: Is deep fried, “real” food any better for you than baked, processed food? Or does the deep frying negate the benefits of the real ingredients?

Hmmm…well, clearly, baked real food would be better than either option; but sometimes you’ve just got to go with what feels right and throw caution to the wind…

In our house, we use our deep fryer about once every month or two. When we do, it’s always for a special meal…typically fresh walleye in the summer months or pheasant nuggets in the fall. Recently, on a warm October afternoon, while our boys played their version of one-on-one flag football in the backyard, Matt and I relaxed on the deck, popped open a few cold Spotted Cows, and fried up some “real” chicken nuggets and onion rings.


I’ve had fried food on the brain ever since Mark Bittman opined last week in his NY Times Flexitarian column that it’s ok to eat deep fried foods, in moderation, of course. While I enjoy reading Mark’s columns, I particularly love working my way through the reader comments. Despite the mess, smell, and clean-up that is fried food, most readers agreed that an occasional indulgence is fine. As do we…which brings us back to the deck…on a day that begs for something grilled or fried…


Start with real onions and real chicken….no methylcellulose or guar gum or anything else that’s in the frozen variety.

Use the typical dry-wet-dry battering method. Flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Batter the rings first, then the chicken. If you get everything battered before you start frying, it makes things flow much easier. Trust me.

When the frying is done, and the spattering has subsided, sit back, dig in, and savor one of life’s sinfully, tasty indulgences.


Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets and Onion Rings

20 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
½ large onion, sliced in rings
1 cup all purpose flour
3 eggs, beaten (plus a splash of milk if you’d like)
2 cups breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Oil for frying

Heat oil in deep fryer. Line up three shallow dishes – one with flour, one with egg, and one with breadcrumbs. Toss a little salt and pepper in with the flour and stir. Batter the onions, and set aside. Batter the chicken, and set aside. When oil is ready, fry onion rings in small batches for a few minutes until crust is golden brown. Repeat with chicken nuggets, frying again in small batches.

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