To me, fried chicken means one thing: skin on, bone in Southern fried chicken. So when a Serious Eater asked for a gluten-free conversion of Ree Drummond’s (The Pioneer Woman) fried chicken recipe, it surprised me when they pointed me to a recipe for skinless, boneless fried chicken strips.
The how-to photos left me intrigued. Drummond dredges the chicken pieces, cut so small they are almost nuggets, in flour that’s been dampened with buttermilk.
I’d seen this technique used before in a Cook’s Country recipe but never got around to trying it. As Drummond promises, the damp flour mixture creates a final coating that contains little nuggets of extra-crispy goodness. And while the gluten-free breading is satisfyingly crunchy, it’s a little different than the original gluten recipe. Without any gluten to hold the little flour clusters together, the finished breading isn’t quite as thick and chunky as the original.
While this recipe makes really tasty chicken strips, the breading can also be used for Southern Fried chicken. For one fryer chicken, double the amount of buttermilk and breading called for in the recipe and heat oil 1 1/2 inches of oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 375°F. Fry until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.
Gluten-Free Chicken Fingers
- 2 1/4 cups buttermilk (10 ounces; 283 grams)
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco, optional
- 1 cup brown or rice flour (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (2 ounces; 56 grams)
- 1/2 cup cornstarch (2 ounces; 56 grams)
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt I used Penzey's 4/S; original recipe called for Lawry's
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
In large bowl, whisk together 2 cups buttermilk, kosher salt, and Tabasco until the salt is dissolved. Add chicken pieces. Cover bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes.
In large pie plate or dish, whisk brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, cornstarch, seasoning salt, baking powder, and black pepper together. Add remaining buttermilk and rub together until flour mixture is damp. If flour seems dry, add an additional tablespoon of buttermilk.
Dredge chicken in flour mixture, coating all sides with flour. Shake excess flour off each piece of chicken. Place coated chicken on a platter or wire rack. Heat 3/4 to 1-inch of oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet to 375°F. Working in batches, fry chicken. Don't crowd the pan. Cook chicken until golden brown and crisp and internal temperature registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer, about two minutes per side.
Transfer chicken to plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt. Serve immediately with barbecue sauce, if desired.