Pan-fried chicken fingers barely merit a recipe, but to have them with homemade gravy will take them out of the ordinary. Sometimes I just want gravy! Particularly if there is going to be mashed potatoes.
Any bits of barley flour left in the pan will help thicken the gravy, and it adds a very nice crunch to the chicken fingers; rather like Japanese fried chicken in a rice-flour coating.
If you are reasonably organized this can be on the table in about 20 minutes. Very quick! Especially when you consider that real gravy requires meat to be roasted and provide drippings; normally a matter requiring hours. The “drippings” provided by frying chicken fingers are pretty skimpy, but with chicken stock reinforced with nutritional yeast the results are better than respectable and way better than tinned.
2 to 4 servings
20 to 30 minutes prep time
Cook the Chicken:
300 to 500 grams boneless chicken pieces
1/4 cup barley flour
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning, savory, or other herb
2 or 3 tablespoons chicken or bacon fat
Cut the chicken into fingers of the size you would like. Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Mix the flour, paprika, salt, pepper and other seasoning of choice in a shallow bowl.
Heat the fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken fingers in the flour mixture and fry them in the fat until nicely browned on both sides. It should take 3 or 4 minutes per side, but it will depend on what size you cut them. When done, remove them to a plate and keep them warm in the oven at 200°F.
Make the Gravy:
3 to 5 large button or shiitake mushrooms
1 or 2 medium shallots
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon arrowroot or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
While the chicken cooks – or before, for calmest working – wash and trim the mushrooms and chop them fairly finely. Peel and finely chop the shallots.
Measure the chicken stock and mix in the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, starch, and mustard. Stand it by until the chicken is done.
As soon as the chicken is done and waiting, add the mushrooms and shallots to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and cooked down a bit, and beginning to brown. Stir up the chicken stock and pour it in, stirring constantly. As soon as it thickens – just a minute or so – transfer it to a serving vessel and pass it with the cooked chicken.
Last year at this time I made Split Pea & Wild Rice Soup.