Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cheaters Handbook: Baked "Fried" Chicken

Fried chicken, that perfect, greasy, crunchy, juicy, savory comfort food that can make anyone in their right mind go weak at the knees...that is probably from the sheer exertion of keeping your body upright after filling it with so much greasy goodness. Despite all of its lovely qualities that make me swoon, making fried chicken at home comes with a cost...one very messy (and sometimes dangerous) cost. We're talkin' grease splatters, dredging flours and crumbs everywhere from your counter to the bottoms of your feet, not to mention the constant threat of being severely burned at any moment by the blistering hot frying oil. The mess, the fear of getting burned, and the amount of time it takes to prepare fried chicken for the table has kept me from ever making the sinfully delicious vice. That is until I cheated. That's right, I cheated! I cheated and I'm proud to say it, shout it out to the world, because let me tell you, the results were so damn delicious!

Last months Food & Wine Magazine featured a recipe that sounded too good to be true: "Oven-Fried Chicken by the Bucket", a cleaner, safer, faster option for making fried chicken at home. I know what your thinking, "Hot damn! A healthy fried chicken recipe!"...but I'm afraid not. I am not reporting on my latest health kick this time around. Although the recipe sounds healthier, being baked as opposed to fried, it's an illusion, as the trick to getting that crunchy fried-tasting coating is by crumbling kettle-style potato chips. So if you're looking for a healthy fried chicken recipe, I'm afraid you've come to the wrong place. To attempt to make this recipe ever-so-slightly healthier, I decided to only use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, where the recipe called for breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, all with the skin on.   I am also a fan of a bit of heat in my fried chicken, so I added a touch of cayenne pepper to the crispy coating. Being one of the first beautiful days of the season, I had left dinner pretty late, not wanting to leave the sunny park I was relaxing in. I arrived back home slightly frantic, starving, and worried about how long the chicken would take. I was amazed at how fast I threw the whole thing together. In only 7 minutes tops, I had my chicken coated and in the oven, and was on the way to cleaning the few dishes I had from the prep. Twenty-minutes later I was in fried chicken heaven, drizzling the crispy, fresh-from-the-oven chicken with sriracha hot sauce and going to town! Considering how quickly it was to prepare, I had my doubts that it would actually resemble the flavour of fried chicken. I was surprised once again to find that the baked "fried" chicken tasted remarkably like the fried chicken I guiltily pickup for takeout. This is a no-brainer go-to weeknight meal that I am definitely keeping in my back pocket (similar to where I keep my fat). 

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine "Oven-Fried Chicken by the Bucket"
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 bag kettle-style potato chips, finely crushed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
freshly ground salt and pepper to season
hot sauce, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 400ยบ. Spray a wire rack with canola or olive oil and set over a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Place 3/4 cup of the flour in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl, whisk the milk with the dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper. In another bowl stir together the crushed potato chips with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and cayenne pepper. Season with pepper.
  3. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dust with flour, tapping off any excess. One at a time, dip the flour-dusted pieces in the milk mixture, then coat with the potato chip mixture, pressing to help them adhere. Transfer to prepared wire rack on baking sheet. Spray the chicken with canola oil on both sides.
  4. Bake the chicken breasts on the upper rack of the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Serve immediately with your favourite hot sauce.
Listening To:
All Daft Punk, all day long...right now is:
Daft Punk - Instant Crush (Feat. Julian Casablancas) [128]

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