Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chicken Cakes (Or, I freaking HATE cooking with hot oil; also-- How I ruined yet another shirt because I forgot to wear an apron) by Nikki

My name is Nikki, and I hate frying food. There. I said it. I feel better, getting that off my chest. Frying in hot oil goes against my nature--it requires all sorts of preparation and cleanup, and I hate nothing worse than a hassle, man. My dread was so great I put off the challenge until the last minute, even though I found a recipe that seemed relatively fool-proof. This is a take on crabcakes, using chopped chicken instead. The original recipe called for canned chicken and those sawdust-like breadcrumbs sold in the grocery store, so I decided to fancy it up a bit. The ingredients are as follows:

  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Creole Seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Creole Mustard
  • 1/2 C Mayonnaise
  • 1 whole Large Egg, Lightly Beaten
  • 1-½ pint Chopped Cooked Chicken
  • 2 whole Garlic Clove, chopped fine
  • 4 stalks Green Onions, Sliced
  • ½ whole Red Bell Pepper, Diced
  • 1 cup Soft Italian Breadcrumbs
I poached some boneless chicken thighs in chicken broth with some rosemary thrown in for extra flavor, and I shredded the chicken once it was cooked through. (I chose not to photograph that incredibly boring and time-consuming process... besides, I had super-messy fingers.) This yielded a little over 2 C of chicken-- not sure how that translates into pints, as I am miserable at such conversions, but it looked about right to me. Next, I chopped all the produce, and tossed it into a hot skillet with the butter.

Pretty, right? I love red peppers. At this point, my helper was agitating to get in on the action, so I set her to work making breadcrumbs.

She's a goofball. After I sauteed the veggies and helped Natalie with the breadcrumbs, it was time to add the shredded chicken and the rest of the ingredients. It looked like this:

Kinda gross, huh? At this point in the process, I was highly skeptical about the end results. And, my oil had become hot enough at the same time that the potatoes I'd boiled for our side dish were ready for further treatment. (An aside about our side: these potatoes are truly fantastic. I boil the tiny yellow potatoes until they're fork tender, then I lay them on an oiled cookie sheet and squish them with a glass. I brush them with a little more olive oil, sprinkle salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary over the top, and put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. They get crispy and tasty. Heaven. Aside over.) On top of that, I was out of counter space, the sink was full of dishes, and my helper was still trying to help. Finally, I had to bring Jay in on the process-- he could at least eliminate the 3yo from the equation. Call me overprotective, but I didn't feel she needed to be involved with the boiling oil.

I scooped out the first four patties into the oil.

Two of them kind of fell to bits almost immediately. I was glad the kid was out of the kitchen so the swearing could commence. I flipped them, and let the other side brown. I removed them as best I could, and managed to keep the next four together in the pan. As they were cooking, I started the remoulade recommended by the original recipe. It consisted of around a cup of mayo, a couple of tablespoons of cajun mustard, some red pepper, garlic powder, and a handful of chopped green onions. Super simple, and quite tasty. I removed the final four cakes, and put them on the plate to rest for a few minutes.

I dished out our plates, and took a taste. Hmm. Not as bad as I'd feared. A little heavy for my taste, but I give them a hesitant thumbs up. Jay, however, thoroughly enjoyed them, and gave an unreserved thumbs up.

Natalie refused to even try a bite, but she gave them an enthusiastic thumbs up, anyway. Gotta love that in a girl.

So, in the end, the chicken cakes were a success. I don't think I'll make them again, but that's just because they involve hot oil. And I HATE hot oil. Does anyone have any tips for removing oil spots from clothing?


  1. These look great! I totally agree about the clean-up hassle with deep-frying.

  2. I liked the ingredients. I also like your use of rosemary. Did you use fresh or dried? I also want to try your side dish of potatoes! When you say press the potatoes with a glass, how flat are you making the potatoes? Pancake flat? Let me know.

  3. I am quite evangelical on the topic of FRESH herbs... fresh rosemary all the way, baby. And when you squish the potatoes, just geeeently crush them, so they sort of bust out on the sides. You could also use a potato masher-- just gently press down, so they sort of ooze out of their jackets. Also-- brush the cookie sheet with olive oil, AND the potatoes. That way, both sides crisp up nicely.

  4. I am also intrigued by these potatoes. I think you're going to have to do those for a challenge because I'm a visual learner. Kudos!

    An aside: If you ever write a cookbook, the cover should be you giving your thumb up over the dish. I think you have that shot in most of your entries :)

  5. man, i should have done crab cakes! those potatoes sound fab. can't wait to try them.