Tiny Spicy Chicken

Today I'm going to tell you about my all time favorite Thanksgiving.  I was probably 8ish years old, and we headed up to Twin Falls, ID to have Thanksgiving with some favorite cousins.  Now, just to clarify here.  I have so many favorite cousins.  These were cousins that we didn't get to see all that often and when we did, we had to share them with their OTHER cousins!  I hated it, but this Thanksgiving we had them all to ourselves.  I remember the dinner spread was spectacular!  Tons of food, but the part that I found so intriguing was that there were tons of little white Chinese Takeout boxes on the table along side the turkey and stuffing.  It turns out that my uncle John had enjoyed a banner pheasant hunt a few days earlier, and had taken all the birds to his favorite Chinese restaurant, and had them magically turned into everything Chinese you could image!!  It was a feast like no other!!  I will admit I miss having pheasant Chinese-ized at my Thanksgiving table.  Tiny Spicy Pheasant is spectacular, as well as Sweet and Sour Pheasant, and Almond Pheasant, and.................  You get the idea:)

So today's recipe has graced my little dining room table as Tiny Spicy Pheasant more than once.  (Grouse works really well too, if you have a bird hunting husband.) But this week we had actual chicken to make the dish with.  This recipe came from a cute little girl named Trina who taught cooking classes at my local grocery store.  I'm sorry I don't remember her last name, but I do believe this Tiny Spicy is famous in Cache County:)  I served it with some rice, and steamed green beans.  It was so good!  This would be a perfect meal sometime during the Christmas holiday.  You know, in between Christmas and New Years, or even on New Years Eve.  And of course Chinese New Years is just around the corner as well, and this would be great!  It does have a lot of sugar, so I don't make it every week, but a fun family night is the perfect occasion.  Enjoy!!  (And try it with some of the game birds is you have a chance.  You will LOVE it!)

Tiny Spicy Chicken

3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts,cut into 1.5-inch cubes
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 c. cornstarch
salt and pepper

I cut my chicken into bite sized pieces and then put the 2 beaten eggs into a Ziploc bag with the chicken.  Squished it until it was all coated.  Then I took the chicken out and placed a spoonful of chicken chunks into the cornstarch with a little salt and pepper.  Start with 1 c. cornstarch and then if you get low add a little more and a little more salt and pepper.  Fry the chicken pieces until browned.  3-4 minutes usually.  Don't worry about your chicken cooking through.  It will finish cooking as it bakes for an hour.  My oil was best at 375'F.  The more chicken you add into the fry pan the quicker your temp. drops.  Patience is a virtue as you fry up your chicken pieces, but it will be well worth it.  Place browned chicken pieces into a greased 9x13 inch casserole dish.  I actually used 5 1/2 lbs of chicken last time I made this and that still fit in a 9x13 inch pan.  It was heaping, but still a great size pan.  Now make the sauce.

2 t. Sambal chili paste
1 c. ketchup
2 c. sugar
2 T.  soy sauce
1 c. chicken broth
1 c. white vinegar

sliced green onions (optional)
sesame seeds (optional)
red chili flakes (optional)

Mix sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugars are dissolved and the mixture boils for a minute or two. Taste the sauce.  See if you need a little more heat, or salt.  It's plenty sweet, but I usually add a little more salt and more Sambal Chili Paste.  Make sure the sauce tastes perfect for your liking.  Pour over chicken  and stir to coat all the chicken pieces, and bake uncovered at 325 degrees for one hour.  You may want to stir your chicken around so the top pieces don't over brown.  The last time I made this I doubled the amount of chicken, but the sauce I just made as written.  It makes a lot of sauce.  The sauce thickens up as the chicken cooks.  I served the chicken with a sprinkle of green onions, sesame seeds and red chili flake.  Totally to make it look pretty, so don't worry if you don't have any of these.

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