I love fried chicken.
It reminds me of my grandfather. He was a chef on the Canadian Pacific Railway. He ran his own restaurant. And he sure loved his fried chicken.
I love thinking about those Sunday afternoons when our family would sit and muse over a big red and white bucket of chicken. Or the times we would enjoy the now extinct all-you-can-eat-buffet which I have come to believe that my grandfather chose because they had great fried chicken.
Everyone has their own memories of their grandfather. Mine just happen to involve crunchy, juicy fried chicken.
But, in this health conscious day and age, we are all looking for ways to slim down our favorites. For me, it's because I want to be able to eat more of it while keeping my conscience guilt-free.
So, try this recipe for baked chicken that is as crunchy as the fried stuff minus all the grease. The polenta gives it a nice texture, the herbs give it a great flavor, and the chili gives it a bit of a punch. Plus, it is great hot, room temperature, or cold (think picnics, leftovers, lunch boxes). Okay, you may still crave the greasy stuff once in a while, but this is one crunchy piece of chicken that you don't need to hide.
Baked Crunchy Cornmeal Chicken
2 kg Chicken Parts (I used 2 whole legs separated into leg and thigh and 2 large chicken breasts cut into 1.5 inch strips)
In a large ziplock bag, combine:
3/4 cup Plain Yogurt
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
Juice of 1 Lemon (or about 1/4 cup of the bottled stuff)
1/4 cup Onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp Dried Thyme
2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or Chili Powder
Add the chicken to the bag. Remove the air from the bag and seal. Then massage the mixture into the chicken pieces. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Coat a baking sheet with a little oil.
In a large bowl, combine:
3/4 cup Quick Oats
3/4 cup Flour
1 cup Cornmeal
1/4 cup Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
In another large bowl, whisk together:
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Remove chicken from the ziplock bag. Dip each piece of chicken first in the eggs, then in the cornmeal. Then dip the same piece in the egg again, and in the cornmeal again. This will ensure it has a thick and crunchy crust.
Place the chicken skin side up on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.