A better-than-takeout family-friendly meal!
I find it amusing how excited my husband gets every time I serve this meal. Maybe it’s because he almost never gets to eat fast food; good thing he doesn’t realize that this dish is actually quite healthy because the crispy chicken strips are baked, not fried. My family likes a combination of cornflake crumbs and panko for the light breading but you can also use gluten-free dry breadcrumbs if you prefer. The buttermilk brine makes the chicken so juicy and delicious; they’re ideal tucked into a tortilla with some flavourful additions. Note that you don’t have to purchase buttermilk – make your own by combining milk and vinegar or lemon juice. If your family loves wrap-style meals as much as mine does, you might also enjoy these crispy baked fish tacos.
For the chicken:
- 2 – 3 boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) white vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 – 2 teaspoons (5 – 10 mL) hot sauce (I like Frank’s Buffalo), or more (to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) Corn Flake crumbs, Panko or gluten-free bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons (60 mL) melted butter
For the wraps:
- Medium-sized (approximately 7″ / 17.5 cm) corn or flour tortillas (or gluten-free tortillas)
- Lettuce leaves
- Hot sauce or barbeque sauce
- Ranch or Caesar dressing
- Grated cheddar (optional)
- Cut the chicken breasts into long strips approximately 3/4 inch (2 cm) in thickness. Put the strips in a non-reactive (glass, ceramic or plastic dish) broad enough to hold them in a single layer. Combine the milk and vinegar; let sit for 5 minutes then add hot sauce and pour over the chicken strips. Cover and refrigerate for 12 – 24 hours, flipping chicken pieces occasionally.
- Alternatively, you can place the chicken in a zippered food storage bag and add the marinade. Seal, pressing the air out as you do so, then lay the bag flat and refrigerate as above, flipping occasionally OR place the bag in the freezer for up to 6 months to you have strips ready for another day. Let thaw safely and completely before proceeding.
- To cook the chicken strips, line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil, then place a wire cooling rack over the tray. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425F.
- Place the panko and/or corn flake crumbs in a shallow bowl. Remove the pieces of chicken one at a time from the buttermilk marinade, letting the excess drip off for a moment.
- Dredge the chicken strips, also one at a time, in the crumbs, turning to coat completely and pressing the crumbs onto the chicken to adhere. Place the coated chicken pieces on the wire rack. When all chicken has been coated, drizzle the pieces evenly with the melted butter.
- Bake chicken until golden and crispy and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the largest piece of chicken registers 165F, about 25 – 30 minutes.
- To assemble the wraps, place a leaf or two of lettuce in the centre of each tortilla. Drizzle cooked chicken strips with hot sauce or barbeque sauce, then place one or two strips on top of the lettuce. Add a little Ranch or Caesar dressing and a sprinkle of grated cheese, if using. Roll or fold tortilla over to enclose the chicken and serve hot.
Serves 3 – 4.