Homemade Chick Fil A


Before the current big hullabaloo over this restaurant, J and I decided to figure out how to recreate our favorite chicken sandwich at home. Mostly because the nearest restaurant to us is more than an hour and a half away. This recipe is so close! With a bag of Oreda waffle fries, it’s almost like you’re there.

Ingredients:
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Dill Pickle Juice (we bought the hamburger slices and just used the juice)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Flour
1 tablespoon Powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Celery salt
1/4 teaspoon Dried basil

Directions:
Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about 1/2 inch thick all around. Cut into four pieces, as even as possible. Marinate in the pickle juice and Tabasco Sauce for 30 minutes. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in a zip lock bag. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then place in the bag and shake. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350, or use a deep fryer (that’s what we did). Remove the chicken from the flour mixture and tap off the excess. Place in the oil. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. If using a fryer, it takes about 5 minutes total. Be sure to check the first couple to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Blot on paper and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.

My Opinion:
So good. It’s very, very close to the original. It just needed to be a touch sweeter, so next time we’ll use a bit more powdered sugar and a touch less pickle juice.

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Homemade Gray’s Papaya Hot Dogs

On our recent trip to NYC, J and I had a culinary tour of the city fueled by recommendations by forum community members on ChowHound. One of the recommendations was for Gray’s Papaya and didn’t let us down. In fact, we liked it so much, we scoured the internet when we got home to find a recipe for the onion sauce. After a few trial and errors, we found this one on noshcookbook.com. It’s practically perfect!

Ingredients:
1-2 Vidalia onions, sliced (we used a mandolin)
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons butter for sauteing onions.
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon lite corn syrup
1 teaspoon cornstarch
few dashes of salt
1/4 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon paprika
couple of turns of fresh ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic

Directions:
In a frying pan over medium-high heat melt butter and saute’ onions and garlic with a few dashes of salt and turns of fresh ground black pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Once caramelized, add the rest of the ingredients and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 to 25 minutes or until thickened.

My opinion:
The ideal hot dog to use is Nathan’s, but living in the Midwest, they are hard to come by. A really, really close option is Oscar Mayer New York Style hot dogs. With the onion sauce, it’s so close to the original that if I close my eyes, I could be in NYC.