I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I love crispy food, but I am not a fan of using a deep-fat fryer. As such, some foods were off limits for home cooking. If I felt like some southern fried chicken I pretty much had to go out to get some. Notice the use of the past tense there? I not longer need to get someone else to make crispy fried chicken for me. I’ve found a way of making a rather tasty alternative at home.
Somewhat unsurprisingly the trick is a hot oven and freely circulating air. Ordinarily I’d have been tempted to start the chicken off in a frying pan before transferring it to the oven. But if you’re well prepared you can really cut down on the fat and still get crispy, tasty chicken. Let me explain how…
The first step is to properly marinate the chicken before cooking it. The spiced buttermilk mixture used here really helps to tenderise the meat and ensure it remains moist as it cooks. You need to let the chicken marinate for at least 8 hours to get a decent effect. Though I’d really suggest leaving it overnight if you can. The mild acidity of the buttermilk adds moisture and tenderises the protein without adding any toughness, so do try and get hold of some if you can. If your local store doesn’t sell it then you could also use natural yogurt at a push.
Once the chicken is marinated the next step is cooking it properly to get that extra crunch. A lot of the time when you cook breaded foods in the oven the top stays crisp but the same can’t be said of the underside. The trick to avoid this happening is to use two baking pans. One with a wire rack and one without.
Pre-heat both pans in the oven whilst you’re coating the chicken in the breadcrumb and cornflake mixture. You want them to be nice and hot before they even see the chicken. Bake the chicken on the plain pan first, allowing both sides to crisp up, then transfer to the wire rack pan halfway through. This allows the hot air to continue to circulate around the chicken, whilst any excess juices can drip away. The result is chicken that’s crispy on all sides and, thanks to the marinade, tender in the middle.
When you have little tricks like this up your sleeve you don’t need any secret recipes or colonels to make a delicious dinner at home. The combination of buttermilk marinade and oven-frying gives you tender, crunchy chicken that’s full of flavour and a lot healthier than you might otherwise expect.
“Oven-Fried” Buttermilk Chicken
For the Chicken
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- ½ tsp Onion Granules
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Garlic Granules
- ¼ tsp Ground Cumin
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 300 ml Buttermilk
- 300 g Skinless Chicken Breast Fillet
- Spray Oil
For the Coating
- 20 g Cornflakes crushed
- 50 g Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp Onion Granules
- ½ tsp Garlic Granules
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Marinate the Chicken
- Mix together the spices and herbs, then stir into the buttermilk until fully combined.
- Cut the chicken into thick strips and put into a bowl, or a zip-lock bag. Pour over the buttermilk marinade, then mix until the chicken is fully coated. Cover, or seal, then put into the fridge to marinade for at least 8 hours and ideally overnight.
Cook the Chicken
- When ready to cook, start by pre-heating the oven to 200°.
- Spray a heavy baking sheet with a little oil, then place into the oven to heat up. Repeat the process with a second baking sheet, but put an oven-proof wire rack (or grill pan) over the top and also heat in the oven.
- Mix together the cornflakes, panko breadcrumbs and spices, then spread out on a large plate.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid.
- Coat the chicken pieces with the cornflake and breadcrumb mixture, pressing it lightly against the chicken to help it adhere. Place the chicken onto the baking sheet and spray the top with a little oil.
- Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, After 15 minutes transfer the pieces of chicken to the second pan with the wire rack, turning each piece over in the process. This allows the upper, crispy side to remain crispy – thanks to the air circulating beneath – as the rest of the coating browns. Cook for a further 10-15 minutes until golden all over and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
|Estimated Values per Serving|
|of which Saturates||2||g|
|of which Sugars||13||g|
|Note: Nutritional information shown is per serving of the above recipe. Any side dishes or garnishes shown in photos are not included in these values, unless they are specifically listed as part of the recipe.|