All week we will be running recipes from the book to give regular readers of Sophie’s brilliant HerFamily.ie columns a flavour of Recipes For A Nervous Breakdown.
I was pretty skeptical of trying to healthify fried chicken. It’s got ‘fried’ in the title for God’s sake, but this recipes really does capture the flavour and crunch pretty well. This is served with carrot chips as a kind of ‘home fries’ alternative. Add some slaw to save the plate from looking too much like a deep fried platter. As a compromise I bake the whole lot which is considerably better than frying and happily, is also less of a palaver. As for the barbecue sauce, if I had to pick just one condiment for the rest of my life (I have something of a condiment fixation) it would have to be this sauce. Or Dijon mustard. Or mayonnaise. Or tartar. Or curried mayo. No. I take it back I can’t pick just one, it’s like choosing to save just one of my children or a selection of condiments from a fire – please just don’t put me in that position.
‘Fried’ Chicken, Skinny Carrot Chips And BBQ Sauce
For the chips:
––6-8 large carrots, peeled
––1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
––1 tablespoon honey
––2 tablespoons olive oil to coat
––Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
For the chicken:
––2 chicken breasts
––100 ml milk
––1 tablespoon lemon juice
––1 egg white
––60g (2oz) self-raising flour
––2 teaspoons salt
––2 teaspoons dried oregano
––2 teaspoons chilli powder
––1 crushed clove garlic
––Some spray oil for cooking
For the sauce (makes LOADS, about 4 cups):
––1 1/2 packed cups dark brown sugar
––1 1/4 cups Ketchup
––1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
––1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
––2-1/2 teaspoons American mustard
––2 teaspoons smoked paprika
––Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the carrots, preheat the oven to 200°C. Cut the carrots into thin chips-size sticks, then toss them with the chilli flakes and the olive oil. There’s no need to use much oil, just enough to coat the carrots. Spread the carrot sticks on a baking sheet in one layer, and sprinkle them with the salt. Bake on the upper rack of the oven for 45 minutes, tossing them halfway through, until slightly charred and crispy. You can make these in advance and then crisp in a hot oven for about 10 minutes right before serving.
To prepare the chicken, cut each breast lengthways into three pieces. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a bowl and allow to stand for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the egg white and add the chicken pieces. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, the salt, the dried oregano, the chilli powder and the crushed garlic. Line a grill tray with some tinfoil then spray the rack with cooking spray to minimise sticking during cooking. Turn over the chicken to coat fully in the milk mixture then transfer the pieces one at a time to the flour mix and coat evenly. Arrange the pieces on the rack and mist with a little cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
For the sauce, whisk all the ingredients together. BAM. DONE.
Refreshingly honest and hilariously observed, Recipes for a Nervous Breakdown captures the challenges faced by the modern millennial woman with a recipe to accompany every life landmark.
Charting Sophie’s life from a foray into madness as a result of dabbling in recreational drugs in her early 20s, to surviving her mother and her son – her arch nemeses and her two favourite people in the whole wide world. From meeting and falling in love with The Man, to losing her father in his fifties to early onset Alzheimer’s disease – and eating, always eating: Sophie White’s food philosophy is firmly based in the real world where hearts get broken, cake gets eaten and food has a role to play in almost every occasion.
Including dishes such as a Fried Peanut Butter Sandwich, Fried Chicken and Deep Fried Mars Bar, it it is also a refreshing departure from the hordes of healthy eating cookbooks that have appeared in recent years.