Nostalgia Week #7: Copycat McNuggets

Rolling out the big ones for our last day of Nostalgia Week. And if you’re lucky, I’ll do it again around Foodette’s birthday with a big, awesome lunchbox giveaway. The response we got to this was crazy! If we do decide to do a VH1 copycat of “We Love Nostalgia Week” was there anything we didn’t get to this time around that you’d like to see us scout out?
The quest for the perfect chicken nuggets has spanned far more than just this week’s set of postings. As nugget aficionados and six-year olds in disguise, we’ve been tinkering with the recipe for well over six months. Our conditions: the nuggets had to be baked, they couldn’t use more than two tablespoons of oil or any xanthan gum or strange ingredients, and they had to be really crispy and nearly identical to McNuggets from McDonald’s. With those rules in mind, we developed a Frankensteinian recipe with amazing results using a few different starches for batter and a guilt-free chicken goo to mimic the shapes of the noble nugget. Make them adult-friendly with an assortment of Robert Rothschild dipping sauces like we did!
Copycat McNuggets
Ingredients (makes 35-45 depending on size)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon of light corn syrup
1/3 cup of plain, unseasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour
3 eggs
Hot sauce to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons of corn oil
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a food processor, combine salt, pepper, chicken, and corn syrup. Blend until it resembles a thick, pink paste.
2. Place flour in one bowl, egg and hot sauce in another, and bread crumbs, cornmeal, flour, and seasonings in another to create your breading station. I like to mix up my bread crumb mixture first and put it in a bag, replenishing the bowl if I run out so that whatever I don’t use can be repurposed for the next batch and isn’t contaminated by the raw chicken. Scoop tablespoons of the chicken mixture out and coat them in flour, shaping them as you go along. Dip in the egg and coat in the bread crumb mixture and place on plate or cutting board.
3. Spread an even layer of oil on your baking sheet and place the nuggets on top. Cook in oven for 10-12 minutes per side and flip with two forks, working carefully so that the breading does not fall off. Serve with condiments and eat immediately. These also keep exceptionally well for a day or two in the refrigerator.

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