Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

Picnic season is just around the corner. I have been searching for the perfect baked fried chicken recipe. I love a piece of fried chicken at a picnic. I guess that comes from my childhood when my mother seemed to always pack chicken in the picnic basket. Hot or cold, fried chicken rules. A huge amount of calories and fat are removed when the chicken is baked and not fried. Up until this point, I hadn’t found the perfect recipe.

In a recent issue of Paula Deen’s magazine, there was a pretty good recipe for  baked fried chicken.I used it as the base for this recipe and made some changes. I think a crucial step in making a great fried chicken is marinating it overnight in buttermilk and some hot sauce. I can’t say for sure, but I think it adds depth to the flavor and additional moistness. I also substituted fried onion rings for the crushed potato chips in the original recipe . French’s has been running ads in many magazines with a baked chicken recipe using their fried onion rings. I thought that would add some spice to the chicken that the potato chips wouldn’t.

The result was a resounding success. This chicken was delicious. It turned out so moist and crispy. It really is a baked chicken recipe that can pass as a fried chicken recipe. It’s definitely going in my picnic basket this summer.

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Crispy Oven Fried Chicken

5 pound cut-up fryer chicken
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon Frank’s hot sauce
3/4 cup flour
1 cup French fried onions
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt

Prepare the chicken: I remove the skin from the breasts and thighs and leave the skin on the wings and drumsticks. Place them in a 1 gallon Zip-loc storage bag. Pour 1 cup of buttermilk over the chicken. Add the hot sauce. Remove as much air as possible from the storage bag. Seal and mix the chicken, milk and hot sauce. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Overnight is best.

Preheat your oven to 425. Place wire baking racks on top of a 15X10 jelly roll pan. Generously spray with cooking spray.

Prepare your dipping station: Place 4 pie plates adjacent to each other on your counter with the jelly roll pan at the end. Place a colander in the third pie plate and drain the milk from the chicken into the plate. Place the colander of drained chicken into the first pie plate to catch any excess milk. Place the 3/4 cup flour in the second pie plate. Crush the French fried onions in a small Zip-Loc bag until they resemble course crumbs. Mix the crushed French fried onions, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, paprika and salt together in the fourth pie plate.

Dip the chicken: Take a piece of chicken and roll into the flour. Dip into the milk. Roll in the breading mixture. Lightly dust off loose crumbs. Place onto the wire baking rack in the jelly roll pan. Continue until all pieces are breaded.

Place into the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until chicken tests done (170 in the thickest portion of a breast.) Serve.

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