Dish Do-Over: Fried Chicken

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Okay, so the recipe title is a little white lie, but Chef Jo Lusted says the only thing you'll miss from the original is the slick coating of oil on your hands.  The signature of perfect fried chicken is the uber-crisp coating encasing a plump, juicy piece of chicken. To achieve that same texture without a greasy deep fryer, Jo uses corn flake cereal for the crispy crust and marinates the chicken in buttermilk to help tenderize the meat. You could easily use boneless chicken for this recipe, however, the simple act of tucking into a juicy piece of chicken on the bone has a distinctly different appeal. It also gives you a perfect excuse to eat with your hands, not that you need one... as Jo's mom always said, "fingers were invented before forks." Serve along with Jo's Dish Do-Over coleslaw.

Dish Do-Over Fried Chicken by Chef Jo Lusted

Ingredients

4 bone-in skinless chicken breast halves, 6 oz each, cut in half through center*
4 each bone-in skinless chicken thighs and skinless drumsticks, about 3 oz each
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups corn flake style cereal, finely crushed
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Preparation

* cutting the breasts in half makes them similar in size to the thighs and drumsticks, allowing for even cooking.

1. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towel, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, ½ tsp sea salt and pepper. Add chicken to marinade, turning to coat completely. Transfer chicken to a large sealable container or bag and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight, up to 24 hours, turning occasionally to marinate evenly.

2. Preheat oven to 425F. Arrange a baking rack over a parchment or foil lined baking sheet, set aside.

3. Combine crushed corn flake style cereal, parmesan cheese and remaining salt; transfer to a shallow dish.

4. Mist baking rack with cooking spray; set aside. Working one piece at a time, remove chicken from marinade, allowing excess to drip off, and dredge in breading mixture, pressing gently to adhere. Place breaded chicken onto baking rack and continue breading until all pieces are coated. Mist top of chicken with cooking spray and Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F when tested with an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of meat.   

Tip: You can purchase 2 whole chickens for this recipe instead of pieces. Remove backbone, cut chicken into 10 pieces, trim off wings and save wings and backbone for making chicken stock. A good butcher will also do this for you to save time.  

Tip: To crush corn flake style cereal, pulse in a food processor until finely crushed. Alternatively, place them in a sealable plastic bag and squeeze out all the air before sealing. Lay on a flat surface and crush by rolling over bag with a rolling pin, can or jar. To prevent bag from breaking, I like to drape a clean kitchen towel over the bag before rolling. 

Tip: Make this recipe gluten free by choosing your favourite gluten-free corn flake style or crisp brown rice cereal.

Serving Suggestion: If you'd like to make a fried chicken sandwich, and you should, simply use boneless skinless chicken breast and thighs in place of the bone-in pieces. Reduce cooking time to 25-30 minutes. Serve on whole grain or gluten-free rolls with sliced vine-ripe tomato, crispy lettuce and a slice of dill pickle.

Before

360 calories
21 g fat
1020 mg sodium

After

224 calories
6 g fat
354 mg sodium

Yield: Serves 8

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