Fried Turkey Nuggets with Pan Gravy
If you lived anywhere near Allentown, PA, in the mid to late 1900's, chances are you heard of the Patio restaurant, which was located in the basement of the downtown Hess Brothers Department Store. The restaurant closed when food courts became popular and the store closed soon after. I am here to tell you, that little restaurant had some of the best homemade-style food in town. I loved everything I tried, but one of my favorites was turkey nuggets with gravy served with mashed potatoes and peas. When I heard that the store had closed, thoughts of those delicious nuggets went rushing through my brain and I knew I had to try to duplicate them. This comes very close to what I remember. The recipe is also good with chicken breast and can be made in any amount.
- 1 to 1-1/2 pounds boneless turkey breast or tenderloins
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
- 2 large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups unseasoned dried breadcrumbs, store-bought or homemade
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Vegetable or canola oil for frying, about 2 cups
- 2-1/2 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
Cut turkey into 1-inch cubes. Season 1 cup of flour with salt and pepper. On a separate plate, mix together the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, sage, thyme, rosemary and paprika. Dredge the turkey first in the flour, then the beaten eggs, then the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a rack set over a plate or sheet pan and refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes. (Chilling will ensure that the crumbs adhere to the turkey while frying.)
Preheat oven to 200° F. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the turkey in batches, turning as needed, until golden brown on all sides. Drain well, place on a clean rack, and place in oven to keep warm.
To make the gravy, remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the pan. Place over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons flour and stir well to combine. Heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the broth and water, whisking well to prevent lumps and to scrape up any browned bits in bottom of pan, and cook over high heat until thickened, about 4 minutes. Serve the turkey, passing the gravy separately.