Birthday Dinner Means Fried Chicken and Corn Balls!

My mom is insanely talented when it comes to birthday celebrations. She puts such loving thought into everything and I’ve always admired her attention to detail. With her, the best part of your birthday is waking up and running out to gaze upon your “birthday table.” She managed to create my own Christmas morning each birthday. Actually, my mom decorated the table for most holidays and it always felt like a mini Christmas morning.

She’s also always been ready to make or do whatever we wanted for our birthday dinner. If there was a restaurant I had my eye on we could go, or if there was a special homemade dinner request, she always hit the nail on the head. Whenever I came home to visit from school there never failed to be a hot meal of my choosing ready. It was never a hassle for her; she always did it because she wanted to.

Now, I finally fully understand the joy of giving someone something special by way of food. A few days before Troy’s birthday I realized we didn’t have any sort of dinner plan. Knowing our plans to go to the Cavs vs. Wizards game, I asked if he wanted to go out to dinner afterwards.

“Or I could make something? Do you want steak? What would your little heart desire for your birthday meal?”

At this, his eyes widened and I could tell something had come to mind.

“Ohhhhh my gosh. It’s been FOREVER since you’ve fried anything!”

Well, that’s good, I thought.

“FRIED CORN BALLS! AND CHICKEN TENDERS! YESSSS MAKE THOSE!”

Hahaha okay then, the menu is set.

 

What you’ll need

 

The Fried Chicken
Chicken tenders – I could only find breasts, so I just cut mine
Flour
Panko bread crumbs
Eggs
Sea salt
Pepper
Paprika
Poultry seasoning

The Corn Balls
~1 1/2 cups of Flour
Corn
Milk
Eggs
Sea Salt
Ranch flavoring

I also have some potatoes that need to be used, so I started out by slicing those into wedges. Interesting tidbit, I learned that only Ohians call potato wedges JoJo’s. This came up in conversation with one of our friends who is from Pennsylvania, and he stared at me like I was crazy when I said JoJo’s. Baffled, Troy and I couldn’t think of anything else you could call them besides well, JoJo’s. Turns out the rest of you call them, simply, potato wedges.

Lightly salt those, then set them aside until you’re ready to fry. Next, I started on the corn balls. I first discovered this recipe in a stack of papers my mom had. In it, she had a journal of recipes from my great grandma. I made them once, and ever since then Troy has fallen in love with them. Thank goodness, because they are super customizable and easy if you get the right consistency.

If you’ve been following the blog, you know I don’t measure things. Some people become too attached to following a recipe word for word and they lose the freedom of creativity. I’m starting with a cup and a half of flour, then freehanding the rest based on the consistency. I added my corn; typically I use cans, but the store was out (whaaaat) so I bought frozen. You’ll use pretty much the entire bag.

Crack in two eggs and a splash of milk, then start mixing. I seasoned this with coarse sea salt, pepper, and a packet of ranch seasoning. Be generous since the bland flour can overpower everything. Stir until it becomes a nice tacky consistency, or at least until it’s some sort of consistency that allows you to roll the batter into balls. Refrigerate and prepare the chicken.

Grab three bowls, one for the flour, one for the egg wash, and one for the breadcrumbs. I don’t have any today, but sometimes I mix parmesan into the breadcrumbs. Season the flour with salt, pepper, paprika, and poultry seasoning. Again, don’t be afraid of a heavy hand.

Get the chicken tenders out, or in my case two chicken breasts and start cutting them into tenders. When you’re ready, coat them in the flour,  then dump them in the egg, and finish with the breadcrumbs. Some people repeat the egg wash and breadcrumbs, but sometimes that makes the breading wayy too thick for my liking. I stuck with one layer and they came out perfect!

Now that you’ve breaded the chicken, cut the potatoes, and made the corn ball dough, prepare the oil. I’m using corn oil and it pretty much took up the entire little bottle I have. Always test the heat by first dropping some breading in. If it bubbles nicely, you should be ready to start.

I’m frying the chicken last because I want it to be the hottest. If you’re comfortable using a spoon to drop in the corn balls do that, otherwise I just grabbed clumps with my fingers and dropped those in. They make thick, fluffy, misshapen balls of gluten and corn that are the epitome of comfort food. When all the corn is done, the fries should only take a few minutes, and finally, finish with the chicken.

If you’re planning a cheat day or it’s a special occasion, or hell, you just want some fried chicken, give my recipe a try! Update, these are amazing leftovers. They didn’t get soggy at all; the breading stays crunchy and the chicken isn’t dry!

 



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