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Hot Pepper Popcorn Chicken Bites + Roasted Garlic Ranch

Hot sauce brined popcorn chicken bites deep fried and tossed in a spicy pepper blend of cayenne, scotch bonnet, jalapeno powder and black pepper cooled down with garlicky ranch.

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WHAT’S GOING ON HERE:

Chicken Breast

Chicken bites do well with both dark and white meat. It’s all about preference. Use whatever you have on hand. Cut the bites into small bites sized pieces to get the most consistent cook.

Hot Brine

The recipe for the brine is simple its just half and half with hot sauce. The lactic acid in the half and half tenderizes the chicken while the hot sauce adds a nice spicy kick.

Dredge

the dredge is simple, flour, starch to make it extra crispy and spices. Toss it all together and this recipe is ready to go. Toss it in a brown paper bag to make cleanup even easier!

Hot Pepper Blend

The hot pepper blend is a combination of spicy peppers. It features green jalapeno powder for moderate heat, cayenne and scotch bonnet pepper powder for the overall mouth numbing heat and black pepper and garlic for extra flavor.

Roasted Garlic Ranch

The roasted garlic ranch is a combination of sweet roasted garlic and zesty raw garlic. Blending it with tangy sour cream and mayo make it the perfect dip for the spicy chicken bites.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST POPCORN CHICKEN BITES + ROASTED GARLIC RANCH

roasting the garlic

roasting the garlic is simple and great to do in bulk. just lop the stem off of the garlic, horizontally. drizzle it with olive oil and sprinkle it with sea salt. for smaller batches folding the garlic into foil packets steam and roast them easily. for larger batches a small glass pan works well. adding too many to a foil pouch may cause the oil to pool and spill.

hot pepper blend

The hot pepper blend features all store bought finds. cayenne, black pepper, and garlic are really easy to find. jalapeno and scotch bonnet which gives this blend its signature heat, may be a tough one. although i did find both ingredients in a big box store they may be tricky to find. the scotch bonnet powder i found in the Caribbean section of the supermarket, while the jalapeno powder was found tucked amongst the spices in the baking section. all ingredients can also be shopped online just make sure it is pure 100 percent of the ingredient.

building the ranch

building the ranch is simple, skip all the chopping and toss all the ingredients into the blender. keep the blender on low to chop the ingredients to a fine mince. turning the blender too high will pulverize the garlic and herbs which will give the ranch a stronger flavor. let the ranch sit for 20 minutes prior to using to give both the roasted and raw garlic a chance to settle. keep refrigerated in an air tight container for up to a week.

cutting the chicken

whether using breast or thighs you’ll need to cut the chicken. cutting the chicken into bites will lover the cooking time and give you super crunchy chicken pieces. keep the bites all the same size to ensure an even cooking time.

frying the chicken

fry the chicken according to bites size. small bites need around 6-8 minutes. you’ll know the chicken is done once the chicken pieces are golden brown and floating.

dusting

the seasoning works best tossed onto hot sizzling chicken. the spices in the pepper blend are enhanced by the heat of the chicken. also the residual oil gives the seasoning something to cling onto. if you want you can toss the chicken into a metal bowl, dust with seasoning then place onto a mesh baking sheet.

serving

making this recipe ahead is super easy just make sure  you dust the chicken with seasoning prior to serving a a future time. the seasoning sticks best fresh from the fryer.

SIMILAR INGREDIENTS TO

LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN

BAKED BUFFALO CHICKEN TENDERS

BLOOD ORANGE & LIME GRILLED CHICKEN FAJITAS

ENJOY THIS RECIPE WITH

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

SMOKE & BROIL ONION BURGERS

SPRING SALAD + CARROT & SAFFLOWER VINAIGRETTE

Hot Pepper Popcorn Chicken Bites + Roasted Garlic Ranch

Hot Pepper Popcorn Chicken Bites + Roasted Garlic Ranch
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INGREDIENTS

  • 3- 4 Chicken Breast, cubed
  • Cooking Oil, for frying
  • 1/2c Hot Sauce
  • 1c Half and Half
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • PEPPER SPICE BLEND
  • 1/2 tsp Scotch Bonnet Pepper Powder
  • 2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1Tb Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Jalapeno Powder
  • 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1tsp Salt
  • CRISPY CRUST
  • 2c Flour
  • 1/4c Corn Starch
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2tsp Black Pepper
  • 2tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2tsp Salt
  • ROASTED GARLIC RANCH
  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1Tb Olive Oil
  • 1/2c Sour Cream
  • 1/4c Mayo
  • 2Tb Milk
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, raw
  • 1Tb Parsley
  • 1/2tsp Dill
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  • ROASTING THE GARLIC:
  • Start the ranch, roast the garlic by lopping the top off of the garlic bulb. drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Pop into a foil pouch. Roast at 325F for 40 minutes.
  • Remove the garlic from the oven. Use a fork to poke the garlic and remove it from the bulb.
  • Use about half a bulb for the ranch.
  • Place the roasted garlic, raw garlic, sour cream and mayo into a blender.
  • Add in milk, dill, parsley and pulse till the garlic is broken down. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Refrigerate till ready to serve.
  • MARINADE THE CHICKEN:
  • Combine the hot sauce with half and half. Pour over the cubed chicken, let sit from 4 hours to overnight.
  • Drain the hot sauce and the dairy.
  • Combine all the ingredients under pepper spice blend.
  • Season the chicken generously with the pepper spice blend and a extra sprinkle of salt. Make sure to keep some seasoning to toss the outside.
  • Add in beaten egg and toss.
  • Combine the ingredients under crust.
  • Toss the chicken pieces in the flour.
  • Add 4 inches of cooking oil to the pan.
  • Heat to 375F . Working in batches add in 6-8 bites to the hot cooking oil.
  • Remove the chicken bites from cooking oil once the chicken is floating, golden brown and cooked all the way through. About 6-8 minutes depending on the size.
  • Remove the chicken from pan. Immediately toss with a pinch of salt and the hot pepper blend.
  • Repeat the process till all the chicken bites are done.
  • Serve the spicy bites with cool ranch.
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