I must say, there’s something about summertime that makes me crave fried chicken. And while it’s been a LONG LONG time since any KFC or Popeye’s crossed these lips, I still think about it sometimes… with that satisfying crunch as you bite into it, that succulent chicken breast, juicy and moist. All those herbs and spices…
Oh god that sounds good.
Except for the whole fast food, artery clogging, non-sustainable thing. Yuck .
With that in mind, and a gazillion and one free range chickens in my fridge, I decided that I was due for a little fried chicken. After all, what the pregnant lady wants, she gets. Just ask my husband.
But then comes that whole idea of actually frying something. Hot oil, toddler and dog running around the kitchen, ever expanding pregnant belly precariously hung over the hot pan… Sounds like a recipe for disaster, no? So perhaps “frying” per se isn’t actually going to happen.
But what about oven “fried” chicken? Sounds relatively harmless and a whole lot easier than babysitting hot oil for about 20 minutes. It also sounds a little bit healthier for the kiddo, the hubby and myself.
It’s insanely easy to make, and if you remember how to cut up a chicken, can also be affordable. Cut that chicken up, give it a bath in it’s herbs and spices and throw it in the oven. You’ll love the crunch from the panko coating, the succulence of the juicy chicken meat, and how easy it is. Make it with some slaw and some mashed potatoes if you’re feeling in the mood and you won’t miss the Colonel’s special recipe at all.
Oven Fried Chicken
One Whole Chicken – cut into 4-6 pieces. – This is going to depend on how big your chicken is. If your chicken has some big ol’ breasts, then you’ll want to cut those in half to make them more manageable. Just make sure to keep them on the bone to keep them moist.
Panko Bread Crumbs
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese – Or whatever blend of Italian cheeses float your boat. I used Parmesan and Pecorino but you could also use a blend of Asiago, or whatever you have on hand.
2-3 TB Fresh Thyme – Or Italian Seasoning if you don’t have any fresh Thyme on hand. Italian Seasoning is going to have rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano… all good, delicious options.
A drizzle of Olive Oil (about 2 TB)
1/4 C Dijon Mustard – DO NOT sub out yellow mustard. But you can use Dry mustard if you have to… just add a little bit more water to get a good coating consistency.
2 TB Olive Oil
2 TB Water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take a baking sheet and cover it with heavy duty foil (this will make for a VERY easy cleanup), then place a cooling rack into the baking sheet.
Put the dry ingredients into a bowl, preferably one with high sides. Add the wet ingredients into another, shallower bowl, and whisk together until they are well combined. Take your pieces of chicken, and dredge them first in the wet ingredients, then in the dry ingredients, tossing to coat well with the panko mixture. Make sure they are WELL coated and then place them onto the tray. Once all of your pieces have been coated and placed onto the tray, put them in the oven for approximately 35-40 minutes. I have found that about 10 minutes before they are finished, and provided that they are getting nice and brown on top, flip the pieces over to get the bottom. Mine, even while having the space underneath caused by the cooling rack to crisp up, still had a little bit of a problem getting as crispy as the top. Give them a flip to crisp them up and things should be A-OK.
Cooking time is going to vary a little depending on how big your pieces are, so make sure to check the internal temperature, starting around 30 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them but you obviously don’t want them raw. Ew. The internal temp for the thickest piece of chicken should read about 160 degrees.
Once you take them out let them rest for a few minutes, which will give the bones a chance to cool so you can handle them. Serve ’em up with your favorite sides and enjoy a delicious summertime treat!