Low-Fat Oven-Fried Chicken

As I noted on the "good stuff" page, I can hear your skepticism that oven-fried chicken is, by definition, foul stuff. (Ooops! Pun not intended. Honest!) Try this oven-fried chicken. It has the crisp and highly-texytured outer coat plus that slightly dumpling-y inner layer, beloved y all Southerners, next to the chicken. Add some mashed pototoes (but skip the brown gravy packets - - make your own with chicken stock) and fresh green beans for a Sunday dinner!

1 c buttermilk (I made mine from powdered buttermilk. I guess regular milk would be ok, but buttermilk is traditional and adds a special flavor and tenderness to the chicken.)
2 whole chicken breasts, skinned and boned (I cut mine in half, longitudinally, so I have 4 pieces), skinned and boned
3 c CornChex cereal (yes, truly)
3/4 c flour
1 t salt (I use "seasoned")
ground pepper (I don't use cracked pepper or stuff out of the peppermill, but ground pepper from the grocery store)
opt: 2 t Creole or Cajun spices (I didn't use this)
opt: 2 t Tobasco or to taste

Soak chicken in milk [mixed with Tobasco] at least 4 hrs. Turn occasionally.

Preheat oven to 400.

Spray baking sheet -well- with Pam.

Crush cereal pretty finely in processor. Combine it with flour, salt, pepper [and Cajun spices].

Drain chicken from buttermilk and dredge in dry mixture. The traditional way is to put the dry stuff in a brown grocery sack and drop in the wet chicken pieces, one at a time. Shake. (Dolly Parton, I'm sure, makes spectacular fried chicken.)

Place on sheet, trying to keep as much of the crunch attached as possible.

Spray chicken with Pam.

Bake on bottom shelf 20 min. Turn carefully, trying not to dislodge the breading. Use a wide but thin spatula. Spray this side with Pam.

Bake 20 min.

Check that the juices run clear by poking the thickest part of the thickest piece with a sharp paring knife.

Note: If you are using bone-in chicken, place bone-side down, spray, and bake 20 minutes. Turn, spray, and bake 15 minutes. Turn, spray, and bake 10-15 minutes more.


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marbeth@marthabeth.com