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How To Make Your Own Beaver Stadium Chicken Basket

Unfortunately, this weekend will not be spent in the Beaver Stadium tailgate lots for Blue-White. And with the upcoming college football season up in the air, it’s hard to say when our next chicken basket will be.

While we await our return to Beaver Stadium, my mother and I decided to try to come up with a chicken basket recipe that we think is as close to the real thing as possible. And after much “Bon Appétit Test Kitchen”-esque experimentation, we believe the Da Vinci Code chicken basket recipe has finally been cracked. (You’re welcome.)

The Iconic Chicken Basket

(Serves 4)

Equipment

  • 2 gallon-sized, resealable plastic bags
  • Kitchen tongs (metal or heat-resistant silicone)
  • 2 cooling racks (fit them over baking sheets to keep things tidy)
  • Tall-sided pan and frying thermometer, or deep-fryer with temperature gauge
  • Paper food tray 
  • Wax paper

Ingredients

  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 T. kosher salt, divided
  • 12 chicken tenderloins (about 1 1/2 lbs) 
  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour 
  • ¾ c. cornstarch
  • 2 T. paprika
  • 2 T. black pepper, course-grind or restaurant-style
  • 1 ½ T. Accent Seasoning (MSG product; optional, but recommended)
  • 1 ½ t. garlic powder 
  • 1 ½ t. onion powder 
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  • Peanut or canola oil (for frying)
  • 1 bag frozen french fries (such as Ore-Ida Extra Crispy Fast Food Fries)

Preparation

In a one gallon-sized, resealable bag, place the buttermilk, beaten eggs, and one tablespoon of salt. Seal and shake. When combined, add chicken tenderloins.  Reseal and allow the chicken to marinate for 30 minutes to one hour at room temperature. In the second bag, place flour, cornstarch, one tablespoon salt, and the spices. Seal and shake to combine.

Breading

Place the bag of chicken, bag of the flour mixture, and a baking sheet/cooling rack in a row on the counter. (This makes the process a lot more convenient.)

Remove three pieces of chicken from the first bag using kitchen tongs. Allow the strips to drip off slightly, then place them into the flour mixture. Toss the strips around in the flour until coated. 

Remove strips from the second bag one at a time, gently shaking excess flour back into the bag. Lay each strip flat on the rack. Repeat with three tenders at a time until all are coated. Then repeat the entire process one at a time to give each chicken tender a second coat of breading.  Allow them to rest on the rack for at least 15 minutes before frying.

Frying

Put a deep pan on the stove, and fill with peanut or canola oil no more than halfway up the sides. Make sure to use enough oil so that the chicken will be fully submerged. Attach the frying thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat the oil to 350ºF over medium-high.

Using clean and dry tongs, place breaded tenders into the hot oil in batches, being careful that they do not touch. Check the temperature of the oil frequently so that it does not exceed 375ºF, and adjust heat as necessary. Fry each batch for 6-7 minutes, flipping once at about 3 minutes, until orangey-golden-brown. Remove the tenders from the oil with tongs and place them on a clean baking rack.  

Cook the french fries in the same hot oil, working in batches as well.  The recommended brands should fry for about two minutes to attain a pale golden color. Allow them to cool slightly on the baking rack.  

For the most authentic stadium experience, feel free to serve the tenders and fries in baskets while watching a highlight reel from last season. And remember: Don’t forget the Ken’s!

PRO TIPS

  • Allowing the chicken tenders to rest for 15 minutes or so before frying helps the breading stick during the frying process.
  • After removing the chicken tenders from the oil, do not cover them or put them on paper towels. Doing so will cause the breading to steam and lose their crunch. Trust us, nobody wants soggy tenders.
  • Blasting Zombie Nation while you cook makes the process go that much quicker.

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About the Author

Meredith Lea

Meredith “Deedle” Lea is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. You can find her hanging out with her ZTA sisters, eating Canyon pizza, or playing the saxophone somewhere in the Blue Band. Follow her on instagram @meredee.lea or on twitter @meredeed.

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