Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Oh the joys of finding new ways to make things!  One of the house favorites around here is buffalo chicken strips.  Breading the chicken for me meant double dredging the chicken in seasoned flour and dipping in a mixture of egg and milk.  Then I would fry the chicken, brush it with buffalo sauce, and then bake it in the oven.  So juicy and delicious!  However flour, at least the all purpose kind, and milk is sort of off limits on a low carb diet so I needed to get creative.

My new favorite website gave me some inspiration.  Linda's Low Carb has a recipe for tuna patties that I've made before.  I thought they were pretty good, but I'm not a fan of fish so I decided to make them with canned chicken instead.  Definitely the preferred method for me!  Then I thought why not turn these into buffalo chicken patties?  I added some hot sauce and other spices to the mix before frying and also served with a little splash of hot sauce on top and ranch dressing for dipping.  They were okay, but definitely not satisfying the need for my homemade buffalo chicken.  I really missed that breaded chicken texture and these patties really have too much of an egg texture.

I went back to Linda's website and started looking at all the chicken recipes again.  Finally I came across one I thought could work.  She has a recipe for breaded chicken cutlets that stood out.  The picture of the chicken looked wonderful with a nice crispy crust perfect for brushing on a little buffalo sauce!  I thought about just trying the recipe as-is for dinner tonight, but I'm out of Parmesan cheese and I really just wanted to have buffalo chicken anyway.  I want to give her all the credit here because I would have never considered what she used for breading until I saw this recipe!  Please check out her site and other recipes for more great low carb dishes!  Again I took inspiration from her recipe but made several modifications.

Low Carb Buffalo Chicken Tenders
  • 2-3 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally and sliced in tenders (or save yourself the time and use already cut chicken tenders)
  • 2 1/2 ounces pork rinds (I used a plain, but I think hot and spicy would be good for this too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more or less depending on how spicy you like your food)
  • 1 egg
  • oil for frying (I use canola oil and enough to cover the pan about 1/4 inch)
Buffalo sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Makes 4-5 servings

To make the breading, combine the pork rinds and spices in a food processor and pulse until all of the rinds are broken up into small coarse pieces.  Transfer to a plate or shallow dish.  In a separate shallow dish whisk the egg till frothy.  Linda's recipe only uses the egg white for this.  I personally hate wasting a perfectly good egg yolk, plus I needed the extra liquid it gives so I used a whole egg.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  When oil is ready, dip chicken tenders one a time into the egg and then coat with the breading.  Fry in skillet 4-5 at a time (depending on the size of your skillet) for a few minutes on each side.  Do not overcrowd the skillet as this reduces the temperature of the oil and the chicken will take longer to cook.  When tenders are done transfer to a plate lined with several layers of paper towel.  Repeat until all of the tenders have been cooked.  I had about 14 tenders from cutting up 3 chicken breasts.

Before starting to fry your last batch of tenders, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Add the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer buffalo sauce on low while finishing cooking the chicken tenders.  Normally I would have added corn starch to this sauce to thicken it up, but since that's high in carbs I simply omitted it.  It doesn't change the flavor, just the consistency of the sauce.

When all the tenders are done, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet (can also line with foil for easier cleanup).  Brush each tender with the buffalo sauce.  Transfer sheet to oven for 5-10 minutes.  I use this time to prepare or finish preparing whatever sides I am serving with the buffalo chicken, in tonight's case we had a side salad and Brussels sprouts.  I also used to serve my buffalo chicken tenders with a nice big dipping cup of ranch dressing, however I chose to eat them plain tonight and had 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing on my side salad instead.  I got the same affect for a lot less carbs!

Buffalo chicken tenders just out of the oven

I was pleasantly surprised at how good these turned out.  They are definitely not as thick as the high carb version I used to make, but I actually think this breading held up a little better than the flour breading when the buffalo sauce is added.  I was also really surprised that they didn't taste like pork rinds, especially because I used half a bag of them!  In fact, unless someone saw you add the pork rinds to the food processor, I don't think they'd ever be able to guess that's what these were made with.  

It's difficult to estimate the calories per serving in this recipe, but the great thing about low carb is that we don't need to worry about those anyway!  It really depends on how many tenders you make out of it and of course how many of them you eat.  Regardless, count about 1 gram of carbs per serving (approximately 3 tenders).  And as always, enjoy!!

No comments:

Post a Comment