15 July, 2009

Banquet Chicken Fried Chicken

Congratulations, ConAgra. You've managed to give one of your Banquet meals perhaps the stupidest names I've ever seen. "Chicken Fried Chicken." Nice going.

The Chicken Fried Chicken Meal consists of a boneless fried chicken patty with country-style gravy, mashed potatoes, and corn. It's a fairly standard lunch plate and should be easy for Banquet to get right. And yet, the far weirder Banquet Smothered Burrito was actually better in many ways.

The boneless chicken patty in this meal is a strange thing. It's nicely breaded, and flavorful in it's way, but it's got a strange texture. Very artificial; it reminded me of the really cheap chicken "cutlet" thingies they used to serve in the school cafeteria when I was a kid. It's not really recognizable as "chicken" when cut open. There's ground meat in there, and blobby-looking stuff, and the inside sort of fades into seasoned crumbs as you get closer to the surface. The patty sits in a pool of "country-style gravy" which isn't too bad, there just isn't enough of it (not enough to cover the patty, not enough to have some on your mashed potatoes, and especially not enough to keep the microwave from cooking it until it turns into some strange sort of gelatinous resin in the tray.)

The corn was fairly decent. Don't look for meltingly tender kernels or candycorn sweetness here: Banquet chooses a manly corn indeed, dense and chewy with deep corn flavor. It's actually pretty good, despite needing a sprinkle of salt. The mashed potatoes were also up to par though, like I mentioned earlier, it would have been nice to have enough gravy to dress them up a bit.

Overall, worth every penny of the $1.25 I paid (damning with faint praise, as they say.) Too bad that the weak point in this frozen meal is the main course.


Michael said...

Chicken-fried chicken isn't quite so redundundant as it sounds, and Banquet didn't coin the term - it appears on many restaurant menus throughout the south. The origin, I think:

Breaded fried tenderized round steak is called chicken-fried, as it's coated with starch and cooked in abundant oil (as opposed to pan-fried, which would be uncoated meat cooked in a dry or nearly dry pan); then a white gravy is made with the drippings, as with fried chicken.

Chicken-fried chicken then became the term for chicken treated as though it were chicken-fried steak (i.e., fried using those techniques and ingredients); to be distinguished from (the much superior regular) fried chicken, which we all know and love.

Dave said...

My understanding was that "chicken fried" meant "cooked like chicken." Chicken fried steak = Steak cooked like chicken. Chicken fried chicken = chicken cooked like chicken.

It's still sounds ridiculous.

Michael said...

> Chicken fried chicken =
> chicken cooked like chicken.

You're talking logic???

Nicoletta said...

Eating this stuff makes you a brave man, Dave... ;)