Chicken Dinners: Cajun Chicken Fritters


[Photograph: Yvonne Ruperti]

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You know how when you start typing a word into the search engine box, Google will attempt to finish your thought? Well that's exactly how these tasty chicken fritters came about. I'd was trying to look up a chicken "fritt"...ata recipe, when "fritters" popped up. Hmmm, interesting. I'd never heard of chicken fritters, so I took the bait and clicked. Turns out there quite a few chicken fritters out there (who knew?), but the one that had me salivating for Southern cooking were the Cajun Chicken Fritters from The Home Heart. The fried buttermilk-cornmeal batter reminded me of hushpuppies, which I adore. Let's just say I stuffed more than a few hushpuppies into the pockets of my butter-stained waitress apron during my long-ago stint at Red Lobster, and I don't regret a moment of it.

The recipe is simple: fold cooked chicken into a batter that's boosted with red bell pepper, garlic, and Cajun spice (Old Bay is perfect here), and then pan fry. Leftover or precooked chicken would have moved things along faster, but I started from scratch by quickly simmering a few boneless breasts. While they were still warm, I shredded the meat into fine shards so that the consistency of the fritter would be similar to that of a crab cake. After tasting the batter, I put my own spin on the recipe, adding minced onion, cayenne, and fresh parsley. The best thing about these fritters, though? The beaten egg whites that are folded into the batter at the last moment. This guarantees a light and tender texture. No hockey pucks in this kitchen.

For the fritter frying, the original instructions fry 'em in an inch of oil. Gah! But for due diligence I tried it anyway, and there were no complaints—they came out evenly golden and crispy all around. For my second batch, I experimented with less oil, which worked, but the fritters didn't brown quite as uniformly. I'll leave the oil up to you. Served piping hot with a slick of tangy quick chili-lime aioli, these weren't exactly the hushpuppies from my glory days, but they were outrageously delicious just the same.

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Cajun Chicken Fritters »