On Friday, Josh and I decided to avoid the cold, stay inside and save money. But that that didn’t mean we didn’t feel like going to the pub. So we re-created the scene at home! Our menu: veggies with blue cheese dip, chicken fingers, crispy bread chips with two dips – guacamole & hummus. (And beer. but we didn’t make that ourselves.)
Here is a step-by-step guide to how to have your delicious pub-food that is far healthier, tastier, and cheaper than the real thing!
1. Veggies with Blue Cheese Dressing
Chop up a variety of veggies – we used the old pub standby, carrots & celery. No further instruction required. I used Martha’s dip recipe – it was unbelievably good!
In a small bowl, stir together sour cream, mayo, hot sauce and salt. Stir in blue cheese. Chill, covered until ready to serve.
2. Chicken fingers
There is a variety of ways to make chicken fingers, including using a deep fryer, or home deep frying using a large pot. Martha Stewart has a great recipe for making Buffalo chicken strips and doing home deep frying. We chose instead to use Alton Brown’s method of breading and then pan frying the chicken.
Three or four boneless skinless chicken breasts
Flour – enough to cover the chicken
2 eggs – or enough for the chicken
Bread crumbs – see my recipe for easy homemade bread crumbs!
First, cut your chicken into strips.
Next, beat the eggs with 2 teaspoons of water for every egg used.
Then, establish what Alton Brown calls a “bread assembly line” with salt & pepper, flour (or cornstarch), egg mixture, bread crumbs, and a rack to hold the chicken when you’re done. Go through the stations of seasoning, flouring, dipping in egg, rolling in bread crumbs, and laying on the rack.
When this was done, we added the chicken to hot vegetable oil in a small pan to fry for a few minutes. It took a while to get the oil to just the right temp; you’ll have to experiment a little too. There were a few chicken casualties.
Fry until golden brown.
Then, to make sure that the chicken is done on the inside, lay on a rack and slide into a 350° oven. Bake for about 12 minutes or until fully cooked on the inside and no longer pink. The chicken should still be tender and juicy on the inside. Serve with barbeque sauce and enjoy with the blue cheese dip as well!
3. Crispy Bread Chips
We *loved* these! Here is a great way to use up stale baguettes.
All you need is half a baguette (can be stale,) some olive oil and a little salt.
Slice the baguette as thin as you can. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle a bit of Kosher salt on top. Broil in an oven for about 5 minutes, or until crispy, but not burnt. You can also bake in the oven at about 350° while making the chicken fingers – the effect is similar.
- Three ripe avocados (more or less depending on how many you are serving)
- One garlic clove
- Dash of lemon juice
- 1 tsp Olive Oil (optional)
Mash the avos in a bowl. Mince the garlic and add to the avos, along with the dash of lemon juice, olive oil if desired, and s&p to taste. That’s it – you’re done!
Although not a traditional bar snack, Hummus & other Middle Eastern Dips have become popular pub food snacks. Since it’s one of our faves, we decided to include it in this pub-esque feast. The great thing about hummus is that it is incredibly affordable to make, lasts for days, and it can even be frozen. It’s also incredibly healthy, so you don’t have to feel guilty indulging.
We actually priced this one out – turns out that this homemade recipe is 10 times cheaper than even the most affordable store-bought brand.
2 cups (450 g) dry chick peas (garbanzo beans) – about 5 cups cooked
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) tahini (sesame paste)
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) lemon juice – freshly pressed
3 cloves garlic – peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water (use chickpea cooking water, if you have it available) – optional
2 or more tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat Italian parsley – as garnish
Blend together in a food processor. Serve with a little extra virgin olive oil on top, and eat with the crispy bread chips or toasted pita.
Finally, we topped off the meal with some beer. We didn’t get so DIY that we actually made the beer ourselves, but I’m not saying we’ll never give that a try!
So there it is – an easy, fun, pub-style night at home. Josh and I stuffed ourselves with the delicious treats – we went a little overboard, but I guess that’s what Friday nights are for!