We've been asking for requests on our Facebook page and getting great ideas for upcoming posts. One of the suggestions that really struck me came from Megan, who asked for more "auto pilot" dinners. I knew exactly what she meant. Don't you need more recipes that you can make without even really thinking about it? I know you're going to say that anything that needs to be marinated does not deserve to be called auto pilot, but hear me out! I've been making this new Baked Fried Chicken recipe regularly for a few weeks now and a few minutes in the morning means that once I get home at night, dinner is about 40 minutes away. And the result is so freaking good. The chicken is as crunchy and satisfying as fried but so much healthier. My kids love it and not just because it's food they're allowed to eat with their hands. Although that's a bonus.
photos by Maya Visnyei
Baked Fried Chicken
8 or 9 chicken pieces (I used 4 thighs and 4 drum sticks)
1/4 cup buttermilk (add a tsp of vinegar to regular milk and let it sit for 15 minutes if you don't have buttermilk on hand)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread crumbs (about 6 pieces of bread)
2 Tbsps fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsps lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the buttermilk and garlic together in a shallow pan container. Coat the chicken pieces thoroughly and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to marinate for a half an hour or up to over night. Turn the chicken pieces over at least once while marinating.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Make your coating by making bread crumbs in a food processor (or using pre-made bread crumbs) then mixing them in a bowl together with the time, zest and salt and pepper until it's well combined.
Take your chicken out of the fridge. Dredge them in the bread crumb mixture and place them on a roasting pan (even better if you can place a rack on the bottom of the pan and put the chicken on that so they're extra crunchy). Press bread crumbs onto the meat if some falls off.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the outside of the chicken is deeply golden and the meat is cooked through. I always cut into chicken to check it, you don't want to see any red at all.