Monday, September 27, 2010

2 Recipe #176: Crispy, Southern Un-Fried Chicken :)

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The original title of this post was going to be "Crispy, Oven-"No-It's-Not-Fried" Chicken." :-D Yeah, I know. What a mouthful. Pun intended. :) So the title was dropped in lieu of a shorter one....

Anyhow, I'd rather much talk about the recipe itself. :) So, the million dollar question is this: Is it possible to make crunchy, crispy, juicy chicken that's also lowfat & absolutely delicious? Yes, it's possible to achieve this. :) Just try this delicious "un-fried" chicken recipe, which is good for both your waistline & your taste buds. This chicken is oven-baked instead of fried, which makes it a lot healthier!

Crispy, Southern Un-Fried Chicken

10 chicken drumsticks (or 5 breasts + 5 drumsticks) (about 4 lbs. total), washed, defatted, & patted dry
extra virgin olive oil, for spraying/coating baking tray
1 c. plain, nonfat Greek yoghurt
1 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar
1 Tbsp. ice water

Ingredients for the Breading:
1 c. dried plain bread crumbs
1 c. masa (harina de maiz, i.e., corn flour)
1 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
1 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. dried basil leaves
1 Tbsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. dried parsley leaves
2 tsp. dried, ground bay leaves (pulverized in a food processor or spice grinder)
2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram leaves
1/2 tsp. ground savory
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Directions: Keep chicken chilled in the refrigerator until it's ready to be prepped & baked. It's very important that both the chicken & the yoghurt stay very cold, which helps the breading adhere to the chicken & contributes to its crispy texture. (If necessary, you can prep the chicken in an ice bath before working with it, in order to keep it super-cold.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. With a spray bottle or Misto oil diffuser, lightly spray a large baking sheet with extra virgin olive oil & set aside. Mix together yoghurt, vinegar, & ice water in a medium-sized bowl until it reaches a sauce-like consistency. Cover & refrigerate until it's ready to be used. Next, pour all of the breading ingredients into a large resealable plastic/Ziploc bag, seal tightly, & shake vigorously to mix it all together. (These two steps can also be done a day or two in advance.)

Remove refrigerated ingredients (i.e., the yoghurt mixture & the chicken). Roll each piece of chicken in the yoghurt mixture & then transfer it, a piece at a time, into the plastic bag containing the breading mixture. Or, if you prefer, you can use a pastry brush to apply the yoghurt mixture, which helps to control the amount of coating you use & is also good for wiping off any excess. The yoghurt coating shouldn't be excessively thick, otherwise it'll be rather gloppy & messy when it comes time to add the breadcrumbs. ;) After placing each drumstick, one at a time, into the plastic bag, reseal the bag & shake it to thoroughly coat the chicken. Then transfer the breaded chicken to the baking sheet. Repeat this process until all pieces of chicken have been breaded. Place the baking sheet on the bottom shelf of the oven & bake for 1 hour, or until juices run clear & the flesh is no longer pink, turning the pieces every 20 minutes (with tongs) to allow for even browning. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: Serves 4-5. Serving size = 1/2 large chicken breast or 2 drumsticks.

Chef's Notes: A brief word about handling & cooking raw chicken: Always wash your hands before & after handling raw chicken, to avoid bacterial contamination. Wash any surfaces that have come into contact with raw chicken in antibacterial soap & water. Never use a porous cutting board for chicken. And never return cooked chicken to a surface that contains raw poultry juices.

For health & safety reasons, cook chicken until juices run clear & the flesh is no longer red or pink. The meat of a fully cooked chicken should pull easily from the bone.

Also, be sure to work with dry hands when handling the chicken, as it's particularly important for this recipe. So, after dipping the chicken pieces into the yoghurt & then the breading, it's a good idea to wash & dry your hands after every two or three pieces or so, to keep your hands clean & dry & avoid unnecessary contamination of kitchen surfaces & fixtures. ;)

For even less fat, you can skin the chicken before baking it, but I find this makes it rather dry.


Jackie denise said...

Hi, made this last night and wanted to say it was delicious, every loved it and I will make again sometime. Thanks for uploading.

Corey Irwin (Cyberpenguin) said...

Thank you, Jackie! So glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe! If you like crispy chicken recipes, you might also enjoy these recipes as well: Spicy Chicken Wings, Coconut Chicken, and Walnut & Parmesan Crusted Chicken with Fresh Herbs. Happy Cooking! -Corey

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