Roasted Witches Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

(reposted from 2009)

Trick or treat?  Treat for a Halloween dinner party, or family meal!

roasted witches fingers with honey mustard sauce

roasted witches fingers with honey mustard sauce photo by vsimon

And a treat when you use the non scary version of this recipe throughout the year- oven baked chicken tenders.

Do take it easy on yourself.  Once the hands are acquired, you can prep the fingers the day before and quickly roast, just before serving.

The honey mustard sauce can be made anytime.  It keeps in the fridge for weeks.  It is good as a salad dressing or on all kinds of cooked veggies too. 

We used grainy mustard here.  You can use any kind, even yellow.  That would look way cool on a black plate.

Roasted Witches Fingers with Honey Mustard Sauce

Serves 6 metric measures
1 ¼ pound boneless, skinless chicken breast 600 gm
2 tablespoons oil 30 ml
1 cup tortilla chip crumbs, see note below 150 gm
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes 10 gm
2 teaspoons paprika 4 gm
½ teaspoon thyme 1 gm
¼ teaspoon black pepper .5 gm
15 black olives, sliced in half the long way 15
½ cup honey 120 ml
½ cup mustard 120 ml

Butterfly the chicken breasts so you have six portions.  “Butterfly” means to slice the breasts horizontally in half.  The halves will be thin and open like two pages in a book.  Cut each breast through, separating the pages.

Cut each butterflied breast so they look like hands with fingers. Butterflies, breasts, pages, hands, fingers.  Are you still with me?  Good thing there is a picture.

If you are making this on any given weeknight, cut the fingers all the way through.  So no scary hands.

Massage oil onto all the surfaces, including between the fingers.

Mix tortilla chip crumbs, dried onion flakes, paprika, thyme, and black pepper on a shallow plate.

Dip fingers in the crumb mixture until all surfaces are covered.

To make clean up easier, line a sheet pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper.  Arrange fingers on top.   You can get 3D results of you scrunch foil to balls and drape the fingers over them.

Add a black olive half for each fingernail, omit for regular chicken fingers.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to roast.

You need a blazing hot oven to crisp these quickly.  So at least a half an hour before cooking, preheat oven to 425.  You could even heat to 450.

I can’t because that makes my smoke detector go off.  The oven is clean, the smoke detector just doesn’t like the heat.

Cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, or anytime, stir honey and mustard together.  Pour into a small serving bowl.

Note: you can easily make your own tortilla crumbs.  Pulse them in a food processor for just a few minutes.  Be sure to buy gluten free tortilla chips.

Southern Home-style Corn Flake Crumbs are gluten free, convenient, and tasty.  You might be able to buy them at your grocery store. Or you can order online.

I have done both, made my own, and used the premade gluten free crumbs.  Each works well.

Serve with  Foamy Bug Juice and eerie background music.

My costume is still undecided.  I have been a witch (not good this year), Marge Simpson with big blue hair (not good this year), a giant black spider (bug juice-also not good this year).   What are you dressing as this Halloween?

Foamy Black Bug Juice

[Reposted from 2009.]

I hope you are planning your Halloween dinner menu. How about starting the evening with Foamy Black Black Bug Juice?

foamy black bug juice

Foamy Black Bug Juice photo by vsimon

Foamy Black Bug Juice

Sweet, tasty, fragrant. Spicy fragrance, not icky stinky. And just gross enough in a clear glass. Make this right before serving for maximum foam. You can spike it with ETOH (alcohol) for the adults if you like.

serves 6 metric measures
1 tablespoon honey 15 ml
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 gm
2 tablespoons dark raisins 15 gm
1 cup grape juice concentrate 240 ml
1/3 cup orange juice concentrate 80 ml
5 cups sparkling water 1.200 liters

In a small bowl, stir cinnamon into the honey. Drizzle honey mixture around the inside rim of the glass. You will have sticky fingers if it gets on the outside. And that isn’t always a bad thing.

Add a few raisins to each glass.

Carefully add juice concentrates to a tall glass pitcher. Try to be neat and not to get it on the side of the pitcher. Or be messy, it just adds to the eeewww factor.

Add the sparking water and watch it foam.

Pour into prepared glasses. Garnish with lots of foam. It will sparkle in your nose.

Stay tuned for the entree.

Hungarian Beef Stew

Hungarian beef stew with caraway

Hungarian beef stew with caraway seeds photo by vsimon

No, the caraway seeds are not negotiable.

This started as a recipe called Hungarian Goulash from Cooking Light. To me it is really more stew than goulash.

“Goulash” to Wisconsinites is a mishmash of ground beef, tomatoes (maybe canned tomato soup), and macaroni. Seasoning is limited to salt and pepper, possibly an onion. It showed up at every potluck supper, and was never very appealing to me.

This version is far superior. Big chunks of tender beef and potatoes, bathed in lively sauce. Yes there is caraway, and the very Hungarian paprika, finished with fresh lemon juice and zest. Your mouth will thank you!

It didn’t take much to make this original recipe gluten free. I simply used sweet rice flour in place of wheat flour to thicken the gravy.

Deceptively useful information

It is so useful, I want to repeat that ingredient information from above. Get yourself some sweet rice flour and swap it out in every recipe that thickens a sauce with wheat flour.

We use it all the time, for all clients. Even ones that do not need to be gluten free. It works better than wheat flour. And freezes (and thaws) better than cornstarch. No lumps, clumps, or weeping. Simply make a slurry with water or other liquid in the recipe and stir it in.

Sweet rice flour is sometimes called glutinous flour, because it is sticky when cooked. This is an unfortunate name, and it is gluten free.

I can get it in my regular grocery store in the ethnic aisle. Be sure to read the label though. I have grabbed plain white rice flour by mistake. It does not thicken like sweet rice flour.

And the brand in my grocery store comes in a plastic bag. Touching it gives me the same response as nails on a chalkboard. Watch, I’ll shutter. It is so dry, and some how sounds a bit crunchy in the bag.

I buy this in a pinch. But when I can plan ahead, I buy Mochiko brand sweet rice flour in a box. At a big ethic grocery three towns over. It doesn’t make me cringe when I grab the package. I buy 5 or 6 boxes at a time.

Now back to the recipe at hand.

Hungarian Beef Stew

adapted from Cooking Light’s Hungarian Beef Goulash

serves 6-8 metric measures
1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast,
trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
700 gm
4 cups chopped onion 500 gm
1 pound red potato, cut into large pieces 450 gm
1 1/2 cups cooked down crushed tomatoes 435 gm
2 tablespoons paprika 20 gm
1 tablespoon vinegar 15 ml
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 2 gm
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, more for garnish 2 gm
1/4 cup sweet rice flour flour 40 gm
Zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon 1 medium

Brown beef cubes. Put beef and onions in pressure cooker. (See unpressured directions below).

Add 1 cup of water. Lock on lid, bring to pressure, and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile put potatoes in a medium saucepan covered with water. Cover pan and cook until tender about 20 minutes. Do not drain.

Allow pressure cooker to cool, slowly or quickly. Remove lid when pressure drops. Beef cubes will be melt in your mouth tender.

Add the tomatoes, paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, and caraway seeds to the pressure cooker.

Mix sweet rice flour with about 1/4 cup water. Stir until no lumps remain.

Add sweet rice flour slurry to the liquid in the pressure cooker. Cook until the sauce thickens, just a few minutes. Stir while doing this.

Add cooked potatoes and some potato water if the sauce is thicker than you like.

Zest the lemon and reserve.

Add the juice of the lemon to the stew. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.  

Garnish with a fragrant whiff of whole caraway seeds and fresh lemon zest.

Haven’t made friends with a pressure cooker yet?

No problem

Brown meat, add onions, and 1-2 cups water to a stock pot. Simmer for about an hour. Add raw potatoes and cook another 1/2 hour. Finish as above, adding more water if needed.

Make ahead?

Sure! This freezes well, make a big batch. Put into small containers with lids (1-2 servings each). Cool completely in the fridge.

Label and date every container, I know you will.


Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Warm in the microwave for just a few minutes per serving.

Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free

Hungry for other international stew recipes? Check out this month’s Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free recipe roundup. Laura at Mouthgasmic hosts, thanks Laura!

What is your favorite winter stew?