Friday, October 29, 2010

Baked Fried Chicken

Fried chicken is one of Mark's favorite foods. I'd like to make it for him, but honestly, deep fried food is almost always better in a restaurant where they have a real deep fat fryer and they can hook you up right. I've played around with this baked version a few times and I've come to really like it. Baking the chicken is a million times easier than frying it and stinking up your kitchen for a week (not that I am trying to discourage you from frying your own chicken, I am just lucky enough to live near Oohs 'n Aahs so I can get my real fry fix any time). This method sets up the traditional "assembly line" frying station of flour, egg mixture, and crispy outside to maximize flavor. You are cooking the chicken at high heat for a short period of time, so pieces on the smaller side work best so that the meat cooks all the way through, while remaining juicy. There are a number of steps to this recipe, but the result is very tasty and not terribly gut busting, so it is worth the effort.
Baked Fried Chicken
6 pieces of chicken (I used 3 legs and 3 thighs)
1 beer or 2 cups buttermilk (for marinade)
3 cups Corn Flake cereal
2 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
Hot Sauce (to taste)
1 cup Flour
1 Tbs. paprika
1 tsp. dried thyme (or other dried herb)
salt and pepper
Non-Stick Spray

1. The chicken needs a marinade so that it is nice and tender. I've used a beer and I've also used buttermilk. I prefer buttermilk, but when I don't have that on hand, I use a beer. I also splash some Tabasco into the marinade and about 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
2. Mix that up in a freezer baggie and add the chicken. Allow this to sit in the fridge all day or overnight.
3. When you are ready to bake, you want to prepare each element of your assembly line. Do the cereal by putting it into a plastic baggie and smashing it until the cereal is small-medium sized crumbles.
4. Mix up the egg mixture by combining eggs and milk in a shallow dish with a few hearty splashes of hot sauce. Mix this up very well.
5. The seasoned flour mixture is the flour, paprika, thyme, and 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.

6. Remove the chicken from the marinade, rinse it thoroughly in cool water and pat it dry with a paper towel. Set out your assembly line and coat the chicken pieces one at a time. First coat them in flour, then dip them in egg, then into the corn flakes pieces until they are well coated.
7. Set them on a rack on a baking try and allow them to sit for 5 minutes so that the coating can adhere to the chicken.
8. I spray them with non-stick spray before I put them in 425 degree oven and bake them for about 45 minutes, or until they are cooked through and the juices run clear if you pierce the chicken.
Enjoy them (mostly) guilt free.

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