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Chicken Scratchings - snack recipe

I'm sure we've all heard of pork scratchings, but chicken scratchings? Perhaps not... The thing is, they're AMAZING!


I know not everybody is a fan of these kinds of snacks, they've a fair bit of salt and grease, though I figure if you're interested enough to be reading this you'll probably be a 'scratching' fan and probably don't really care about the fat content anyway! ;)


How can I describe the experience? They've got the savouriness and satisfaction of crispy bacon, whilst somehow being super light and crisp. It gets you on a primal level, speaking to the animal inside all of us (vegetarians aside of course!) that enjoys devouring fatty, salted meat products! Would this then count as a Paleo snack?


You can munch them like crisps, they go great with a drink like beer or cider as with pork scratchings, or instead you can crumble them onto salads, soups, risottos or baked potato toppings for an added naughty chicken-flavoured crunch. Could they also then be classed as a gluten-free crouton? ;) I'm not the only one weird enough to be making these so trust me, I read somewhere of somebody eating chicken skin sandwiches in their youth so I think they were even once a valuable war time/depression era food resource to utilise!


Despite the likely high fat content Chicken Scratchings are still what I would consider a healthier choice of snack when you're craving salt and crunch - compared even to let's say a potato crisp fried in sunflower oil. To put it into perspective I personally wouldn't eat the same quantity of skin in one go as a bag of crisps but then I find these more satisfying!

Also remember that not all fats are created equal, in fact we need fats to survive and to maintain our brains and skin, but some out there are causing all manner of health problems - fats are, as I'm sure you've heard before, are either saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Research now reveals that on storage and heating some fats go through chemical changes creating free radicals (electron-deficient molecules) which cause damage to our body cells. The worst culprits for creating those little nasties are the polyunsaturated fats, mostly found in vegetable oils. Most notably it's this kind of damage inside our arteries that causes the naturally occurring cholesterol to catch on and cause blockages. Yes the saturated fats are the ones that do the blocking but it's the polyunsaturated fats that make the damage in the first place. Antioxidants are credited with helping to repair the damage but we all know that prevention is always the better option. Bet you didn't expect a science and nutrition lesson with your snack recipe did you? ;) If I've peaked your interest and you want to know more about what free radicals are and how antioxidants work have a look here> it's slightly too heavy a science lesson for a snack recipe page!

So along with containing slightly-better-for-you fat (of all the animal fats chicken fat contains the highest polyunsaturated fat level at around 21% so remember it's not perfect), these delicious munchy snacks contain a good serving of protein, with no sugar or carbohydrate to cause spikes in blood sugar affecting insulin levels. Plus if you use Himalayan Pink Salt like we do, you'll be getting a huge variety of useful minerals to feed your body instead of the nasty table salt.


They certainly hit the frugal bell for me since they cost nothing as a by-product of another meal, and you even get the by-by-product (if that makes sense?) of some delicious salty chicken fat to cook your roasties in! Anyhow, I'm sure I've sold them to you by now? ;) See below for the instructions:


1. Lay the desperately unappealing-looking chicken skin on a baking tray as flat as possible, fat side down.

2. Season well with salt and a little pepper. The salt will help to 'cure' the skin, drawing out moisture and acts as a preservative so use plenty.

3. Roast in the oven on a low heat, around 150 C for between 30 minutes to an hour. The skins will begin to crisp and shrink up, if blackening reduce the heat or lower the tray.

4. As the skins begin to crisp up, turn them over.  Add more salt if you feel they need it. The fat can be carefully poured away into a jar for later use frying/roasting.

5. When the skins are an even golden-brown, completely crisp, and now looking and smelling very appealing - dry on kitchen paper and allow to cool before scoffing!


If you're planning to keep these a while (or rather if you've somehow managed to restrain yourself from snuffling them all down immediately!) pop them into a small airtight container. I've kept mine in our cool food cupboard, with an extra twist of salt for good measure, for several days with no adverse effects to myself or their appearance. I figure that they end up cured something like jerky, if you've dried and salted them right, so should keep for a good long time. They can absorb moisture from the air and turn chewy if kept in a refrigerator, so although you have fewer bacteria worries in there you would need to eat them sooner... Ha! Let's face it, they're not going to be around long enough to go off on you! Yes, even I (with my incredible willpower!) admit to returning to the cupboard, re-opening the pot with lustful, hungry eyes, and crunching just one more in guilty, salty shame! XD


We'd love to hear from you if you've tried or adapted this recipe! Share how it went down on The Waki Way facebook page>


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Sarah is a UK artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more

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