Don’t ask me why Cracker Jack (as in the caramel popcorn) because that was the challenge issued to me and for someone that likes challenges… why not? So I had the darnedest time trying to figure out what would work and a shot out of the blue I thought “breaded chicken”! So the simplest would be to ground the Cracker Jack into a powder for the breading. Not bad… but now what? Well for the adhesive I had a basic idea what I wanted… but to get a basic idea of portions I had to look up the interwebs… and the following is what I found.
So what did I end up using? Well…
– Jolly Time: Thai Peanut and Popcorn Crusted Chicken
– Tasty Trials: Peanut and Crack Jack Crusted Chicken with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
– No Recipes Blog: Orange Chicken
How did I marry the above three recipes together?
Well for the most part I used the ingredients from the Jolly Time recipe and baked the chicken as recommended via the Tasty Trials recipe.
Originally instead of coating the chicken outside of baking, I laid the chicken onto the sheets and poured the batter on top of the chicken.
How did I change up the Jolly Time recipe? The most obvious would be that instead of the popcorn and peanuts concoction I used Cracker Jack and the sugar coated pecans that I actually got from Christkindlmarket.
As for the egg / soy sauce / garlic mix… instead of using the hot pepper sauce, I chose to use teriyaki since I don’t really like extremely spicy foods. So the natural course of action from here would be that first I would coat the chicken (or let it marinate) in the egg / soy sauce / garlic concoction first then cover the chicken in the popcorn / pecan mix before laying them on the aluminum sheet to bake in the oven.
When I was trying out the recipe at the beginning I decided to just mix everything together, coat the aluminum covered grill with a little oil and placed the chicken slices onto the sheet, then I pour the egg / soy sauce / popcorn / pecan mix on top of the chicken and just let the whole thing sit in the oven (set at 400 degrees Fehrenheit) for closer to 25 minutes or until the crust becomes a golden brown color.
In the case of the orange sauce… I actually followed that recipe to the tee and used it as a side condiment over the peanut sauce that is always recommended. Why orange sauce? Mainly because I wanted a more balanced experience in the tasting… and having peanut sauce on top of the pecans just seemed a bit much, while orange sauce with the pecans have the connection of the sweetness and a touch of citrus goodness.
So there you go… My own little change up on a recipe that seems to be obvious to make via the Tasty Trials recipe… but changed up a bit for my own more Asian tendencies and desire for change.
In later test batches I finally conceded and first placed slices of the chicken into the egg mixture and just let it marinate for almost a day (since time was not by my side and I had to get most of the prep work done ahead of schedule). Then when it came time to bake, I took each individual slice of the chicken and placed them into the pan with the grounded popcorn / pecans before placing them on the aluminum pan ready to be baked.
The result? Absolute heaven, looks great, tasted great… all in all a win. 🙂 Granted if I had done that at the beginning I wouldn’t have had the need to go through several test batches… ah well c’est la vie. With the above recipe apparently being a hit amongst friends and acquaintances… what’s not to like?