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Chicken Pumpkins


It's a lot of fun to make your kid laugh. Mine is 6, a perfect age for wonder and amusement. So, when I saw this Halloween recipe from Food Network that turned the ever-favorite chicken tender into a pumpkin, I knew I had to make it. My boy thought it was hilarious. His dad was impressed. I thought they tasted great. If nothing else, I will use cheese crackers as a breading from now on.


Ingredients: chicken breasts, buttermilk, salt and pepper, mozzarella cheese sticks, vegetable oil, celery stalks with leaves attached, cheddar cheese crackers, ranch sauce

Step 1: Cut a series of deep slits crosswise into each chicken breast (do not cut through), about 3/4 inch apart from one another. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Step 2: Whisk together the buttermilk, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. (Note: if you don't have buttermilk, you can substitute milk, cream, or half and half and add a little vinegar or lemon juice to get a similar effect.) Step 3: Meanwhile, cut each cheese stick in half crosswise so you have into 8 pieces. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours. 


Step 4: Fill a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Set a rack on a baking sheet. Step 5: Meanwhile, trim the skinny tops from the celery stalks and remove any leaves. Cut eight 1-inch pieces from the skinny tops (these will be your pumpkin stems) and set aside. Step 6: Add the cheese crackers and 1 teaspoon salt to a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Step 7: One at a time, remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the bowl of cracker crumbs and toss to thoroughly coat. Shake off any excess coating and transfer to a cutting board, cut-side down. Place a piece of cheese on one end of the chicken and roll up to enclose the cheese. Seal with a toothpick. Step 8: Working in batches of two, carefully lower the coated chicken into the oil using a slotted spoon. Fry the chicken until golden, cooked through and a thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 160 degrees F, about 4 minutes. Remove to the prepared rack to drain. Insert a celery stem in the center of each pumpkin so it sticks in the cheese. (My celery had gone bad, so I used broccoli stalks instead. Still looked cute.) Serve hot with ranch sauce.

Chicken Pumpkins


Recipe:


4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total)

3 cups buttermilk 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

4 mozzarella cheese sticks  

Vegetable oil, for frying 

2 celery stalks with leaves attached 

One 14.2-ounce box Cheddar cheese crackers (about 5 cups) 

Ranch sauce, for serving 


Cut a series of deep slits crosswise into each chicken breast (do not cut through), about 3/4 inch apart from one another. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthwise. Whisk together the buttermilk, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to overnight. Meanwhile, cut each cheese stick in half crosswise so you have into 8 pieces. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours. Fill a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot with 3 to 4 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Set a rack on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, trim the skinny tops from the celery stalks and remove any leaves. Cut eight 1-inch pieces from the skinny tops (these will be your pumpkin stems) and set aside. Add the cheese crackers and 1 teaspoon salt to a food processor and process until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. One at a time, remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off. Transfer to the bowl of cracker crumbs and toss to thoroughly coat. Shake off any excess coating and transfer to a cutting board, cut-side down. Place a piece of cheese on one end of the chicken and roll up to enclose the cheese. Seal with a toothpick. Working in batches of two, carefully lower the coated chicken into the oil using a slotted spoon. Fry the chicken until golden, cooked through and a thermometer inserted in the center of the meat registers 160 degrees F, about 4 minutes. Remove to the prepared rack to drain. Insert a celery stem in the center of each pumpkin so it sticks in the cheese. Serve hot with ranch sauce.


Source: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/chicken-pumpkins-7182946

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