Buttermilk Oven-Fried Chicken

buttermilk-oven-fried-chicken

A no-skin, crunchy oven-fried chicken with plenty of flavor.  That’s what I’d been craving for quite some time, and that’s exactly what this recipe delivered.  The girls and I love fried chicken, but the grease and salt of takeout and storebought oven-fried have always left us questioning our judgement afterward.  Luckily, Cooking Light magazine came through for us once again with their 2009 Jan/Feb issue in a terrific article entitled “Weeknight Meal Makeovers”.  It tells how to replace take-out and fast food with healthful, flavorful homemade versions.  I’m sure we’ll try them all, but we needed to start with the chicken.

We’ve tried oven-fried before, but several aspects of this recipe definitely lifted it above the rest.  First was dipping the chicken in buttermilk before dredging.  I love the tang of buttermilk, and I think it contributed greatly to the flavor.  Another plus was the use of cracker meal in the flour to give the resulting crust a good crunch.  If you don’t get the crunch, you’ll never convince yourself it’s fried chicken, oven-fried or otherwise.  Finally, browning the chicken first gave it that golden brown color that it really needed.

It was an easy recipe, and we really enjoyed the result.  The only thing we’ll probably do differently in the future will be to use a package of thighs and drumsticks, rather than a cut-up fryer.  We found the dark meat to be the most juicy and flavorful, and the ratio of meat to crunchy crust was better than with the breast portions.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cut up whole fryer chicken, skin removed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cracker meal
  • 2/3 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Combine buttermilk and chicken in a shallow dish, turning to coat.

Combine flour and cracker meal in a shallow dish.  Transfer chicken from buttermilk to work surface.  Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.  Working with one piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess; set aside.  Repeat procedure with remaining chicken and flour mixture.

Melt butter in large ovenproof non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan, meat side down; cook 4 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn chicken over, and bake at 425 degrees F for 32 minutes, or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.

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