Friday, October 3, 2014

Pretzel Chicken Bites

 Last Year's Post: Forbidden Rice with Turkey, Roasted Squash and Walnuts
Two Years Ago:   Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage

The terms "football food" or "pub food" normally conjure up visions of delicious but unhealthy treats that are often deep-fried, drenched in cheese, or both.  I was therefore very happy to stumble across this recipe for pretzel chicken bites - little nuggets of chicken meat, coated in mustard and crushed pretzels - that are baked rather than fried.  If you manage to stay away from mustard cheese dipping sauce and serve it with mustard instead, it's actually very healthy.  Just don't tell the football fans.

Pretzels vary widely in terms of their saltiness, so be sure to taste one of the pretzels before you start.  To my surprise, these little thin ones weren't actually all that salty so the chicken bites needed seasoning before serving.

If you like a little spiciness you could add some chili powder to the mustard egg wash or sprinkle a little southwest seasoning on the chicken after baking.  You can also add some kick by serving the chicken bites with Dijon or Wasabi mustard in addition to honey mustard, which I particularly like because then everyone can decide how much kick they prefer.  If you use honey mustard for both the coating and the dip, these are very mild and very suitable for children.

The chicken is very easy to prepare but a little tedious in terms of rolling each flour-dusted piece in egg wash and then in crushed pretzels.  Not hard, but gloppy.

After that you just bake the chicken, turning once, and serve.  They're equally good hot or cold and make a good addition to a buffet table, plus they go great with beer.

printable recipe
Pretzel Chicken Bites
Serves 6

Note:  these are very mild if you use honey mustard and eliminate chili powder or southwest seasoning.  To make them spicier, you can add spice to the flour, or sprinkle it on at the end of baking, or use Dijon in place of honey mustard.

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
¼ cup flour
Chili powder or southwest seasoning, optional (see note)
1 egg
1 cup honey mustard or Dijon mustard (see note)
5 oz crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 425d.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl or a large zip-top bag, toss chicken with flour and optional chili powder or seasoning.  In a shallow bowl, whisk egg and 3 tablespoons mustard.  Place the crushed pretzels in a second shallow bowl.  Dip chicken pieces in egg, then roll in pretzels.  Place on the parchment-lined sheet and bake until cooked, turning once, about 15 minutes.  Season with salt and/or optional seasoning powder; serve with mustard for dipping.

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