I’m a big fan of copycat recipes – after all, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Chick-Fil-A nuggets are super popular, but sadly they contain MSG, white flour and some ingredients I can’t really pronounce. After hearing so many friends rave about them, my kids and I decided to come up with a copycat version we can eat!
The chicken is marinated in pickle juice and buttermilk, providing a tangy flavor and making the meat exceptionally juicy. The nuggets are then coated with a grain-free flour mixture featuring lots of spices. I chose tallow or lard (from good sources) as the frying fat because they withstand high heats without oxidizing.
2 pounds of chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup pickle juice (I used Bubbies)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or use 1/2 cup coconut milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice)
For the breading:
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup arrowroot flour
1 1/2 teaspoons gelatin
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne
4 cups tallow or lard
Place the chicken, pickle juice and buttermilk in a large bowl. Cover and marinate in the fridge overnight.
Place the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, gelatin, paprika, sea salt, garlic power, black pepper and cayenne in a large baking dish. Toss gently to combine. Crack the eggs into a pie plate and whisk in 2 tablespoons water. Dip a few pieces of the chicken first into the flour mixture, then the egg, then the flour again. Set the coated chicken on a large plate while you coat the remaining pieces.
Place the tallow or lard in a large pot or Dutch oven and heat over medium-high heat to 350ºF on a candy thermometer (this will take about 10 minutes).
Place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 250ºF and adjust the rack to the middle position.
When the tallow is at 350ºF, carefully place 8-10 chicken pieces in the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until they’re golden brown on the bottom. Using a pair of tongs, flip the chicken pieces. Cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes. As you finish the chicken pieces, place them on the prepared baking sheet. Place the sheet into the oven to keep the chicken warm while you cook the remaining pieces. Serve hot.