Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets + Chinese Style Orange Sauce

April 30, 2012

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Almost every child I know, loves the idea of Chinese style orange chicken. Hmmm… it’s fried, it’s salty, it’s sweet, and it’s crunchy. I get it. There have been more than a handful of Sunday nights where Chinese is on the menu and up until recently, I was able to order our favorite dishes in my sleep. Most of what we used to eat, we eat no more, thus going to our favorite Beverly Hills Chinese restaurant is saved for those rare weekday lunches with girlfriends.

But how can I possibly deny my kids something that they consider a treat? One of the kids favorite weeknight meals is baked chicken “nuggets”, served with two veggies and a few dipping sauces (bbq, teriyaki, and an orange/apricot sauce). Turning one of their favorite meals into another one of their favorite meals earned me HUGE brownie points.

Eaten without the sauce, picnic style in the backyard is a favorite afternoon snack. Having homemade chicken tenders in the freezer makes snack time, as well as meal time super, duper easy.

I make my nuggets two ways; when in the mood, I pan fry them in a little bit of coconut oil and other times, I bake them in the oven. It has been said (on this blog) that my guilty pleasure is fried food. Thus, my preference is the fried version. One of the benefits (as if there are any benefits to frying), is that they can be treated like snack food. I like to make these on big game days. Having them show up in the kitchen, in the midst of me doing my thing, sneaking a nugget or two always puts a smile on my face.

Making large quantities at at time leaves plenty for leftovers. Leaving lots of possibilities with very few ingredients and one very simple dish. My kids like a hot lunch. Warm these little guys up and place in a warm thermos and a hot lunch is exactly what they get. Cut up into smaller chunks creates the ultimate Chinese chicken salad. And lastly, whip up this sweet and sour orange sauce, keep in the fridge for one of the easiest weeknight meals, ever! Roast some broccoli, throw some brown rice in your rice cooker and the friends that just happen to be over for a playdate that day, will beg to stay for dinner!

Oven Baked Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets + Chinese Style Orange Sauce
yield: 8 servings (with leftovers to spare)

for the chicken:
3 pounds, organic chicken breasts, skin removed, cut into 2″ chunks
2 cups gluten free flour blend (see below)
1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic Sea Salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup organic butter
coconut oil for frying

for the sauce:
8 ounces orange marmalade
2 ounces organic pineapple juice
2 ounces seasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wheat free tamari
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon arrowroot

for the chicken:
• wash chicken and pat dry.
• preheat oven to 200*.
• over medium heat,  in a cast iron skillet, add 2 ounces of coconut oil and 2 ounces of butter. melt to combine.
• while the fat is melting and heating up, in a large bowl add the flour, salt, and white pepper. whisk to combine.
• in very small batches, dredge the chicken in the flour blend. shake off excess flour and add the chicken to the hot skillet.
• pan fry until brown, about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. turn chicken over and repeat on the other side.
• when done, transfer to a cookie sheet, lined with paper towels
• repeat with remaining chicken, adding more butter and coconut oil as needed.
• when all the chicken is cooked, place on another rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to keep warm while you make the sauce.

for the sauce:
• in a small mini Cuisinart, pulse the orange marmalade until all the chunks disappear.
• in a separate bowl, whisk the sesame oil and the arrowroot forming a paste like consistency.
• in a small sauce pot, combine the marmalade, pineapple juice, rice wine vinegar, wheat free tamari, and ketchup.  once bubbles start to appear, turn the heat down to simmer.
• take about 2 tablespoons of the hot, orange sauce and whisk it into the arrowroot mixture until all incorporated. add that back into the sauce pot and whisk to combine and you no longer see any white streaks.
• simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
• pour orange sauce over chicken or simply place in a heat resistant, glass bowl for dipping.
• store leftover sauce in a air tight, glass jar for about 1 month.

Gluten Free Flour Blend
I make a huge vat of this and keep it in my pantry. I use this when making chicken picatta or any other protein that needs a flour coating

150 grams Amaranth Flour
150 grams Brown Rice Flour
200 grams Millet Flour
100 grams Quinoa Flour
100 grams Sorghum
100 grams Arrowroot
100 grams Tapioca Flour
50 grams Potato Starch
50 grams White Rice Flour

• sift each ingredient, separately, into a very large bowl.
• once sifted, whisk to totally combine.
• store in an airtight container, in your pantry.
• use as needed

More Related Links around the Web:
Gluten Free Pot Stickers – Free Eats Food
Gluten Free Vegetarian Vermicelli Stir Fry – Indo Chine Kitchen
Asian Style Chicken Strips – Family Fresh Cooking
Tempeh and Broccoli – The Wanna Be Chef