Monday, October 4, 2010

Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

Sunday was a very long day for me, I was trying out all kinds of new recipes so that I can tell you all about them. From sunrise ( I LITERALLY stayed up after Fajr on a Sunday morning!) until sunset (yes, until Maghrib) I was in the kitchen doing a few experiments. This one is a tweak on the oven fried chicken I make all the time. The spice in this is excellent because it's not "in YO FAAACE!" kind of hot. It's flavorful, spicy kick kind of hot and even little Elias had no problem gobbling up a leg.
Spicy Oven Fried Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut up
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 box of panko bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
non-stick spray

1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire (I used extra tenderizing)
enough water to cover all chicken pieces

Dredging Flour
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your pan with a coat of non-stick spray, either a wire cooling rack on a sheet pan or casserole dish, or use a broiler pan.In a large bowl, place all chicken pieces and add enough water to submerge all pieces. Add the brine ingredients, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, or, if it's a cool day you can leave it on a countertop for about 1 hour.

Next, prepare a dredging station with three large mixing bowls. In the first bowl mix all of the ingredients for the dredging flour. In the second bowl, mix the eggs and milk until combined. Pour the entire box of panko in the third bowl.

Once the chicken has brined, remove it from the liquid and shake off any excess water before dropping each piece, two at a time, into the dredging flour. Coat each piece, then dip it in the egg mixture, and finally in the panko shaking off any excess coating and placing them on the prepared pan as you go.  After all the pieces are coated and placed on the pan, spray each piece with the non-stick spray. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown and firm to the touch and at an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

I love this two-part recipe because the brine makes the chicken extra juicy and flavorful, and the panko bread crumbs add a wonderful crunch that makes you not even miss the greasy fried stuff.  By adding flavor and texture in each layer of the recipe, the final product is super flavorful.  Unlike some oven fried chicken recipes which call for flash frying the chicken before finishing it in the oven, this recipe skips the deep frying altogether making it a much healthier alternative especially if you opt for the chicken breasts.  The other great thing about this recipe is that it works for chicken pieces with and without skin! Whatever you like!  If you are using a cooling rack for this, make sure that the chicken is suspended above the pan or else the bottom of the chicken will be soggy. Make sure that each piece is completely and evenly coated in each step so that the crust is neither too heavy (it will fall off in clumps, believe me) or if there are large spaces without all three layers the juices from the chicken will spill out and make the whole thing mushy. One last tip: You can put the dredging flour and panko in a shopping bag (paper or plastic? It's up to you!) for easy clean up!

P.S. Sorry there are no step by step photos, I was kind of in a rush!

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