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
- 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, rice bran oil, peanut oil)
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika (hot or sweet)
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce
Make the marinade:
Whisk together the lime juice, rum, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl until sugar has dissolved.
Marinate the chicken:
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).
Heat the oil for frying:
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.
Dredge the chicken:
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 move to a plate.
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.
Recipe from September 2007 issue of Gourmet magazine.