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Tailgating recipe: Chicharrones de pollo

Tailgating recipe: Chicharrones de pollo
Chicharrones de Pollo (fried chicken bites) are a great finger food for a tailgating event. (Judah Kelber, for The Baltimore Sun)

On first glance, chicharrones de pollo might just look like garden-variety chicken nuggets. Don't be fooled. This recipe with Dominican roots calls for the chicken to be marinated in a mix of rum, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar, making it full of flavor.

And if you're dubious about how these would work at a tailgating event, fret not: They're crunchy, not sticky, after being fried up, making them the perfect finger food. And thanks to the flavorful marinade, they don't even need sauce.

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Chicharrones de pollo (fried chicken bites)

Makes: About 4 servings

1/4 cup amber or dark rum

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into 11/2- inch pieces

About 2 cups vegetable oil

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Stir together rum, lime juice, soy sauce and sugar in a shallow bowl until sugar has dissolved. Add chicken and stir to coat. Marinate at room temperature for about 25 minutes.

While chicken finishes marinating, heat 1 inch of oil in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow bowl. Drain chicken and pat dry. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess, then transfer to a plate.

Fry chicken in three batches, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown and cooked through, 6 to 7 minutes per batch. (If chicken darkens too quickly, reduce heat.) Transfer to paper towels to drain.

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