Author Notes: After a vacation in Europe, I was obsessed with anything rolled in breadcrumbs and fried, a la Spanish croquetas, Italian arancini and potato croquettes. Using quinoa makes for a lighter bite, especially with chicken that's been poached in whiskey- it gets a malty, almost sweet flavor to it. Alongside something cool and refreshing to dip it in (like Greek yogurt mixed with lemon) this is a perfect snack or appetizer. - Omeletta
Makes 10-12 2" balls
For the filling:
- 4-5 pounds bone-in chicken parts (ie thighs or breasts, or a whole chicken cut-up)
- 1 cup raw quinoa
- 1 medium sized yellow or sweet onion
- 4 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
- 1/3 cup whiskey
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup liquid whey (tap water is perfectly fine as a substitution)
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
For the breading. In three separate bowls:
- 1/3 cup white all-purpose flour
- 2-3 large eggs, whisked
- 1/3 cup fine ground breadcrumbs
- Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium to high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken, skin side down first, and brown on all sides. Bring the heat to low and set the chicken aside. Deglaze the pan with the whiskey, scraping up any bits off the bottom of the pan as you go. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the chicken, salt, chicken stock and whey/water. Cover and poach chicken about fifteen minutes, or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the pan, reserving 2 cups of the poaching liquid with the onion. If there isn’t enough for two cups, add water until you get the sufficient amount. Set the chicken out on a baking sheet or plates, leaving room between the pieces so it can cool a bit. Combine the reserved liquid and onion with the quinoa in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, about 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
- Once the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones. Dice the meat and combine with the quinoa in a large bowl.
- Heat the remaining oil, 1/2 a cup, in a non-stick pan until shimmering. Roll the quinoa and chicken mixture into balls (see headnote) and roll in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Fry in the oil until crispy and brown on all sides and then place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
- Optional: mix the juice of one lemon and about 1/2 cup of Greek Yogurt for a nice dip on the side.