Hot Chicken Sandwich, or another classic made healthy

When you have kids, it sometimes gets hard to eat healthy stuff all the time. They tend to get fed up and put a lot of pressure on you to make something “good”, you know, something “normal”, for a change. Then they start enumerating all the meals you used to make, back in the days, you know, when you were “normal”… Hot Chicken Sandwiches is one of the meals that would come up most often in said enumeration. True. We used to have them, a lot. They’ve always been a big favourite in this household. So I guess I really can’t cross them off the list altogether, that wouldn’t be fair, now would it? BUT, I had to find a way to turn this into a healthy meal.

You see, the old me would’ve bought a rotisserie BBQ chicken at the grocery store, then stopped at the restaurant on the way home to grab a bag of fries. Back at home, I would have opened a can (nah, make that two) of sauce, heat it up, stick the chicken between two slices of toasted white bread and serve with a hefty portion of greasy fries. Of course, I would pour loads of sauce over the whole thing, and oh, right, peas. At least, I would add peas on top of the sandwich. Now how’s that for a healthy meal?

But, when you stop to think about it, it’s still fairly easy to turn this into a real healthy meal. Of course, the chicken would have to be lean, so use breasts only, and poach them. Good. Fries? Oven baked, that’s easy. Check! Replace the white bread with a few slices of good whole grain instead and you’re set. Allright, this is going great. Now for the sauce… mmmm… That’s a tad more challenging. How does one make a Hot Chicken Sauce from scratch that is both tasty and healthy? I had to think about that one for a while. Then it hit me. Start with a real good quality home made chicken or turkey stock, from which you have removed all visible traces of fat, of course. Then, add plenty of spices and a little bit of corn starch for thickening and voilà, there’s your perfect sauce.

Allright! There’s a plan that looked really good on paper, but would the real thing live up to my expectations? Had to test it to find out and… it sure did! It turned out absolutely delicious, even my “I’m so opposed to this healthy lifestyle” son loved it (except he had white bread, I confess). There is no way I will never go back to the old “normal” version again.

  • ­Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 per person)
  • ­Slices of some good whole grain bread (2 per person, or 1, if you want to cut back o on calories… Make this an open face instead!)
  • ­Cooked green peas (don’t forget the peas!)

OVEN BAKED FRIES

  • ­1-2 potatoes per person, cut into strips
  • ­1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ­Salt, pepper, thyme, dried parsley, hot pepper flakes (to taste)

SAUCE

  • ­3 cups chicken or turkey stock
  • ­2 cups water
  • ­1 bay leaf
  • ­½ tsp paprika
  • ­½ tsp thyme
  • ­¼ tsp onion powder
  • ­¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ­¼ tsp pepper
  • ­Pinch cayenne pepper
  • ­1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ­1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • ­3 tbsp corn starch diluted in cold water (slurry)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat the oven to 475o F.
  • In a deep skillet, mix all the ingredients of the sauce, save for the slurry. Bring to a boil and add chicken breasts. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked and tender.
  • Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into strips and pat them dry with a clean towel. Transfer them to a bowl and add olive oil and seasoning. Toss them around to coat evenly.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the fries in one layer.
  • Cook them in the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, until nice and golden. Give them a quick toss halfway through cooking.
  • When chicken is cooked, tear it to pieces using two forks, then remove and set aside.
  • Now would be a good time to cook your peas… can’t forget the peas!
  • Add slurry to sauce, bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until fully thickened.
  • Put the sandwiches together using the reserved chicken (I like to toast my bread first); serve with a handful of your beautiful oven baked fries and ladle some sauce over the sandwich, then top with the green peas.
  • And there you have it. A “can’t believe it’s not normal” Hot Chicken Sandwich

 

 

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