Monday, May 6, 2013

Oven Fried Chicken

I love fried chicken.  I get cravings for it sometimes, though I usually don't indulge them.  Mostly because the closest fried chicken place to me is Church's and I don't like theirs.  I also don't like the mess involved when frying your own.  I've spent a couple of years searching for a homemade, oven-fried version that is both crispy and flavorful (meaning it actually tastes like it's fried).  I've found the recipe that works for me!  I've made this a few times now and I can confirm it tastes like fried, but without all the fat and mess.

The secret to the crispiness of the coating is in part due to the melba toast.  If you've never heard of melba toast, you're probably not the only one.  It's thinly sliced bread that's been toasted to the crunch of a cracker.  The only brand I've ever seen is this one:
You will most likely find it on either the top or bottom shelf of the cracker aisle in the grocery store.  If you can't find it, bagel chips will also work.

I like to use drumsticks for this recipe because they're usually cheap.  I was able to coat 11 pieces with just one batch and probably could've done a few more.  If you want to use other chicken pieces, that's fine.  However, if you're using boneless chicken, it will cook a lot faster so you'll need to adjust your baking time accordingly.

OVEN FRIED CHICKEN
slightly adapted from FoodNetwork.com

1 1/3 cups Crispex or Rice or Corn Chex cereal (I prefer Crispex)
2 1/4 cups broken bagel chips or melba toast
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or 1/2 tsp. if you like it spicy)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 lbs. bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Set a wire rack in a foil lined baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Finely grind the toasts and cereal together in a food processor.  Transfer crumbs to a large gallon size plastic bag and add the salt, cayenne, paprika, and pepper.  Add in the oil and shake to distribute.

In a bowl, whisk together the mayo and mustard; add chicken pieces and turn to coat evenly.  Add chicken pieces, one at a time, to crumb bag and shake until evenly coated.  Place chicken on wire rack.  Spray chicken pieces evenly with cooking spray and bake for 35-40 minutes or until coating crisps and browns and juices run clear.  (Proper temp for cooked chicken is 160 degrees.)

If using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders, reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

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