What’s Up, Hungry People?
It’s time for round two of the “Chopped at Home Challenge”. Imagine this: “Chefs – you may open your baskets. Your main course must include: garlic Parmesan flavored pretzels, baby romaine lettuce, and chicken breasts.” That’s right! I had Ted Allen in my kitchen announcing this. Well, at least in my dreams.
The Mystery Ingredients Saga
This week, we were diving deep into the “Mystery Ingredients” challenge. I played a little game and had Nick dash to the store, picking out ingredients for me, no guidance from yours truly. He came back, arms laden with an assortment of intriguing items, then sorted them out into Appetizer, Dinner, and Dessert categories. Keeping it “Chopped-style”, I made sure to still have access to my trusty basic pantry.
Here’s What You Need:
- Chicken breasts: The main protein, providing a juicy and tender base for the pretzel crust.
- Garlic Parmesan flavored pretzels: Add crunch and savory flavoring to the chicken’s outer layer.
- Egg: Acts as a binder, helping the pretzel crumbs adhere to the chicken.
- Vegetable oil: Medium for frying, ensuring the chicken gets a crispy, golden-brown exterior.
- Baby romaine lettuce: Fresh greens that add a crunch and balance to the dish.
- Plain Greek yogurt: Creamy base for the dressing, providing tang and richness.
- White vinegar: Adds acidity to the dressing, enhancing flavors and balancing richness.
- Black pepper: Seasoning that provides a spicy kick.
- Miso paste: Adds depth and umami flavor to the dressing.
- Salt: Enhances the overall flavors of the dish.
- Muenster cheese: Melty and creamy, adds richness and a mild flavor to the salad.
- Croutons: Offer an added crunch to the salad, complementing the lettuce.
This particular round had me all giddy. I mean, come on, pretzel crusted chicken? That’s a winner right there! And with a hint of garlic and Parmesan in those pretzels? It was a given that this chicken was about to pack some serious flavor. So, diving in, I transformed those pretzels into a fine crumb using my food processor.
Now, to the breading! I took the chicken, gave it a quick egg bath, then rolled it in that pretzel goodness. Repeated a couple of times to make sure each piece had a generous coat.
Once ready, I got to frying those chicken strips, ensuring they cooked to perfection.
Meanwhile, I whipped up a nifty dressing for the baby romaine lettuce, combining vinegar, pepper, and that rich miso paste.
Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Tips:
- Choose chicken thickness: If your chicken breasts are very thick, consider pounding them slightly for even cooking.
- Breading method: Always keep one hand for dry ingredients and one for wet to prevent clumping when breading.
- Oil temperature: Ensure the oil is hot but not smoking; if it’s too cool, your chicken might absorb excess oil.
- Miso paste alternative: If you don’t have miso, try using a small amount of soy sauce for a similar umami kick.
- Storing leftover dressing: Keep any leftover dressing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
- Reheating tip: Reheat fried chicken in the oven to retain its crispy texture rather than microwaving.
The Salad Touch
With some leftover Greek yogurt and a bit of Muenster cheese from our appetizer adventure, I gave the salad a creamy twist. I could hear those imaginary judges, pondering on my choice of a salad. But hey, I had faith that my zesty dressing would win them over!
Oh, and a pro-tip? That dressing doubles up beautifully as a dip for those crunchy chicken strips.
So, what did our home judge, Nick, have to say? He’s convinced that pretzel chicken should be a staple on our dinner menu. His exact words on the Greek yogurt dressing? He’d have it on “just about anything.” Drinking it might be a stretch, but let’s just say he was thoroughly impressed!
All in all, diving into the Chopped at Home Challenge was a whirlwind of flavors and fun! I never thought I’d find myself so excited about pretzels outside of a snack bowl, but here we are. With the crunchy and flavorful exterior of the chicken paired with the tangy and fresh salad, this dish really hit it out of the park. Nick’s stamp of approval was the cherry on top. And Hungry People, if you’re ever feeling adventurous in the kitchen, the pretzel crusted chicken breasts | chopped at home challenge might just be your next best culinary escapade!
Pretzel Crusted Chicken Breasts
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Use a food processor to pulse the pretzels into a powder.
- Whisk the egg in a small bowl. Cut the chicken into long strips.
- Dip the chicken strips into the egg, then into the powdered pretzels, then back into the egg and back into the pretzels for a thick breading.
- Fry each strip in the skillet for 3-4 minutes per side, until the breading is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
- While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the Greek yogurt, white vinegar, black pepper, and miso paste.
- Gently toss the baby romaine lettuce in half of the dressing so it's completely covered. Garnish the salad with any remaining Muenster cheese and croutons.
- Reserve any remaining sauce for dipping the chicken in. Serve alongside the appetizer round and enjoy!