Monday, January 24, 2011

Baked "Fried" Chicken

Let's get one thing straight. This recipe is not a substitute for fried chicken. Because fried chicken is heavenly and FATTY. Fatty as in all the way to your thighs, butt, and heart. We do not approve.
That's why I wanted to try this so-called "healthy" fried chicken recipe. Instead of frying, it's baked (duh, it's in the title). That said, this chicken is DELISH. The seasoning is just right, the chicken stays moist (even the white meat), flavorful, and the crunchy outside gives you the same satisfaction as fried chicken without the regret and tummy ache from the grease.

Adapted from Cook's Country
Ingredients adapted to serve 2 with a few leftovers

Baked "Fried" Chicken

Chicken Bath
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/8 teaspoons garlic powder
3/4  teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (omit if you don't like heat)

Crunchy Crust
1 1/2 cups panko/Japanese bread crumbs (orig. recipe calls for cornflakes and fresh bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (orig. recipe calls for poultry seasoning but I didn't have any)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes or cayenne
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used olive. Oil will help the coating brown)

Approx. 1.5-2 lbs of chicken in cut up pieces. I used 1 large breast (cut in 2 pieces), 1 thigh, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings.

*Don't have buttermilk? Me neither. Mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of whole milk and let sit for 5 minutes before use. 

Prepare the chicken
In a large bowl, mix the buttermilk, Dijon mustard, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, hot sauce.
I bought a whole chicken pre-cut in pieces, approximately 4 lbs. I froze the pieces I didn't use. Write the date of freezing it on the freezer bag. Back to chicken prep, cut some of the excess skin. If the breast is large, consider cutting it in half for more even cooking. I left the chicken skin on (per the recipe) but it'd be healthier if I took it off.

Rinse and pat dry each piece. Place in buttermilk mixture. Make sure each piece is coated and try to submerge all the pieces. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Making the "Fried" Outside
Arrange oven rack to the upper middle section. Preheat oven to 425F.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil to catch the chicken juices. Place a cooling rack on top of the sheet. In a rimmed baking sheet or roasting dish, gently combine panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix the crumbs to evenly coat.
Remove chicken from refrigerator. Using tongs (or your hands), take out each piece one at a time and shake off excess buttermilk. Put in your dry coating pan and coat evenly. Slightly press the crunchies into the skin. Place skin side up on the cooling rack (atop the lined baking sheet).

Bake at 425F for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375F. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until internal temperature of the chicken breast is 170F or until juices run clear when cut. If you use a meat thermometer, make sure to poke it through the thickest part of the breast through the side if possible. Remove baking sheet from oven. Allow meat to rest 5-10 minutes.
Topping will be slightly browned.

For sides, I heat up a pre-made / heat 'n' eat (don' make me say "semi-homemade" because that creates feelings of an outfit matching table decor) of baked gruyere & parmesan mac & cheese. And leftover mashed potatoes. I consider it the smart thing to do. (But if you want to make one, try this one).
P.S. the hubs asked me to 1. tell you that he might like this chicken more than real fried chicken (really?) and 2. to give him credit for always cleaning after my culinary exploits. End Lobster PSA.


lavenderpug said...

that looks delicious! i think i've made this recipe before and i agree with your hubs that it's pretty amazing. although this all looks way prettier when you make it--i love the photos in this post!

lavenderpug said...

okay i'm fixated on this now, i'm going to make it this weekend. or soon. sometime soon.

Jessica said...

I get seriously sick of eating plain sauteed chicken all the time, this is an awesome way to change things up without all the {although delicious but still fatty} calories. :)

Marissa said...

You and @lavenderpug post the most fantastic recipes. Prior to my grocery shopping I head to your blogs for my weekly recipes, LOL No pressure or anything ;)

BigAppleNosh said...

Yum! Ok I admit I'm a huge Fried "Fried" Chicken fan, but I'd try this. :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa said...

Ohmagawd. This might be the world's most perfect meal.

lobster said...

@Marissa: Aw, thanks! Let me know how it goes! I might make it again soon since I have leftover chicken from this recipe!

lobster said...

@lavenderpug: Yes then please invite me over for dinner. :D

Anonymous said...

that chicken looks pretty awesome... i could do with a little less fried in my life anyway

Annie said...

yum chicken looks so crispy and yummy! how did the pre-made mac n cheese taste?

Jennie said...

this looks delicioussss. i will have to try this!

Anonymous said...

This turned out great. Chicken was very tender and juicy. Will make again.