Spicy Chicken Nuggets (Chicharrones de Pollo)

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We first encountered these spicy chicken nuggets in a special issue of Gourmet (Sept 2007) that focused on Latin American cuisine. “Chicharrones” (cracklings) are usually made with pork, and in Mexico with pork rind. These chicken chicharrones are a specialty of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic; they are made with chicken pieces that have been marinated in a lime juice mixture, dredged in flour and paprika, and deep fried. We’re not that big into deep frying here, but the chicken nuggets cook up perfectly well in half an inch of oil, you just have to turn the pieces halfway through the cooking. Very tasty with a little hot sauce and fresh lime juice squirted on them.

Spicy Chicken Nuggets (Chicharrones de Pollo) Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dark rum
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • Vegetable oil (canola oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil or other high smoke point oil)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
  • Lime wedges
  • Hot sauce

Method

1 Prepare marinade, stirring together lime juice, rum, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl until sugar has dissolved. Add the chicken to the marinade and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature (can marinate longer chilled, but allow to come to room temp for 30 minutes before cooking).

2 Pour enough oil in a skillet so that it comes up the sides at least a half an inch. Heat oil on medium high until it is shimmering, and a little pinch of flour sizzles when you drop it in the pan.

3 While the oil is heating, whisk together the flour, paprika, and salt in a bowl. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture and transfer to a plate.

4 Fry the chicken in batches (about 3), about 3 minutes on each side, until deep golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. (If the chicken is browning too quickly, reduce the heat a bit). Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

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Recipe adapted from September 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine.

Links:
Chicharrones de Pollo with Paprika Onions from Appetite for China
Chicharrón - in the Wikipedia

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Showing 4 of 36 Comments

  • joe

    Awesome blog, great recipes and instructions!
    Can the chicken be fried in batches in a deep fryer? If so, at what temperature? Thank you!

    I don’t see why not. I would guess a 350°F for the oil in the deep fryer, isn’t that typical? ~Elise

  • Myrna

    Dominican people (my family is Dominican) make chicharrones de pollo and is much more simple than this. Cut the chicken in very small parts, and marinate them overnight with lots of lime juice, salt and pepper. Coat them with flour and in a big skillet deep fry them. They are very very good…

  • AL

    The recipe is nice, for “heat” and enhanced flavor I generally spread a thin layer of tobasco a night before and leave the chicken overnight in a sandwich baggy. The morning of is when I pour into the baggies the marinade for the day. Marinade time makes a big difference, although 30 minutes is better than nothing. Also, for presentation I’d skewer these shish kabob style with fried peppers, slices of pineapple and cherry tomatoes. Cucumber dip. A Case of Beer and a dozen friends would also be good to go with these. they go fast, make a few pounds for your parties.

  • Rossella

    Wow, these were so good I had to prevent my boyfriend + 1 guest from eating the whole before I even reached the table (they were cutting me out of the enjoyment session…ME, THE COOK!!)! The delicate aroma the chicken flesh got after it was marinated, wonderfully blended with the “picante” twist of the paprika (even tho I cut the amount of that a bit because we are not into really spicy foods). Next time I think I will let the pollo marinate a little longer in the fridge…can’t wait to make the scents of soy, rum and lime a little more persistent in these awesome nuggets. grazie Elise! :)

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