Friday, March 27, 2009

Easy Recipes - Oven Fried Chicken

Well recently I was talking to my brother about cooking. He's just starting to really cook for himself and said that he keeps finding himself cooking the same things over and over again and wanted to try something new, but his cooking skills are still very beginner and a lot of recipes sound too hard. When I thought about it, most recipes aren't really that difficult, sometimes they just aren't worded in a way that beginner cooks can really understand.

So since I've been posting a lot of recipes anyways, I've decided to spend some time putting up some recipes that are written out in a way that anyone can feel confident making them. If you are a more advanced cook you can still enjoy these recipes, and I'll include a short version for those that want it at the end. Enjoy! :)

For our first recipe I decided to post Oven Fried Chicken. Craig asked for some easy chicken recipes, so the first few will probably be chicken related. Also, they will probably all feature the boneless, skinless chicken breasts since they're very versatile and easy to use. But feel free to substitute for other cuts of chicken. Bone-in chicken works great too, just be sure to adjust your cooking times (it will take longer since they're thicker) and to check that they're done before serving. So here we go!

Oven fried chicken

My mom gave me this recipe, and I especially love it because while I like fried chicken, I hate frying. Plus this leaves you plenty of time and oven burner space to make up mashed potatoes, stuffing or any other sides you want with it. This recipe is very flexible and you can change the spices to your taste, if you're feeling adventurous go for a more complex combination, or go simple if you aren't sure. Don't be afraid to experiment with it, you really can't go wrong!

(For 2 people I typically use 2 pieces of chicken)

1 egg
milk or water
butter, about 1/2 a stick
oil, like vegetable oil or olive oil

2 bowls
1 baking pan like a cake pan, something deep and wide enough to lay the chicken in

While your chicken is thawing you can make up the coatings for it. (To thaw it I put it in a bowl or plate and microwave on defrost for 5 mins, flip them over and put them in on defrost for 2-5 mins more, depending on how thawed they seem after the first 5)

Get 2 bowls and put about 1 cup of flour in one, you might need more if your pieces of chicken are large, add another 1/2 cup or so if they're big. You can always mix up more later, so don't worry.
You can add things to the flour like salt, pepper, other spices like oregano, chili powder, parsley are good too, really anything you like. If you have breadcrumbs, oatmeal (the plain kind), crackers that you can crush up, you can mix those into the flour too. Even things like cereal can be good on it. But if you don't have anything you can just put flour, salt and pepper and it's good like that too.

This batch I added some Ranch Seasoning to the flour mixture, it's really good and has a nice mix of flavors that are great for chicken already put together for you. A note when adding pre-mixed seasoning like this: always check the ingredients on them before adding salt to your food. Some pre-mixed seasonings have a lot of salt already in them and if you add your own salt it will be way too salty. You can always let people add their own salt at the table later on.

Now crack your egg into the second bowl and add a little milk or water to it, not a lot, just some like if you were making up eggs to cook or french toast batter. Beat the egg mixture with a whisk or fork. If you have hot sauce you can put a little in, it's pretty good with it and doesn't make it too spicy, but adds a nice flavor. You can also put spices in the egg batter if you want.
Get your baking pan out and the butter. Cut up your butter into small pieces or slices and put it in the bottom of the pan, you want to spread it out so it's not touching and kind of layers the bottom so your chicken won't stick.

Now's a good time to set your oven temperature at about 375*

Get your thawed chicken out and slice each piece in half the long way. If they're really big pieces you can cut them into thirds. Think of like the size of chicken strips, you want it like that.

Set up your counter so you can easily work with your chicken strips. I set mine up so the baking pan is on the left, then my two bowls one in front of the other, then my chicken on the other side. It makes it easier to work with your chicken if you set up everything before so you aren't jumbling it around with gross raw chicken hands lol.

Take one of your chicken strips and dip it in your flour mixture (only work with one strip at a time so it doesn't get too messy). Make sure it's coated on all sides.

Then dip it in your egg mixture. It might seem like the flour all came off, but that's ok. The flour helps the egg to stick to the chicken.

Now dip your chicken back in the flour and make sure it's completely coated. Now lay it flat in your pan, right on top of the butter pieces. Keep doing this with all the strips, try to make sure they aren't touching when you put them in the pan.

Your hands will probably get all clumpy and stuff from dipping the chicken back and forth, and that's ok, lol. It comes off easier if you use the dish sponge to scrub your hands. You can try using forks or only using one hand for wet and one for the dry ingredients, but you'll probably still get a lot on your hands, it happens.

Now that all your chicken is in the pan, pour some oil in so it comes up to the bottom of the strips. You don't need to to completely cover it, but you want enough so that it will fry the chicken. If it isn't going around the chicken, you can tilt the pan to spread it around more. You can't really go wrong with how much oil you use, just make sure it at least covers the bottom part and isn't so much that it goes way up on it.

Put it in the oven and let it bake for about 15-20 minutes. It should start to look a little brown, but not too dark yet. Flip each piece over, using tongs or forks, be very careful because the oil is very hot. Let them cook again for another 10-15 minutes, they should look nice and crispy and golden brown just like fried chicken strips. When they're done you can put them on paper towels to drain, but there shouldn't be too much oil left on them anyways, so I usually just plate them up and enjoy!

Oven Fried Chicken

(The short version)

1 egg
milk or water
butter, about 1/2 a stick

Preheat oven to 375*

Mix flour, spices (salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder), and any other toppings you may want. Bread crumbs, crushed crackers, oatmeal and even cereal taste great, experiment with different combinations.
Mix egg and milk or water in another bowl, add spices or hot sauce, whatever you think would compliment your flour mixture well.
Cut up and layer butter in your baking pan to lay chicken on.
Slice chicken into strips and dip into flour mixture, then egg mixture, then back into flour mixture.
Layer chicken in pan and pour in oil until it comes just up to the chicken.

Bake at 375* for 15-20 mins, and then flip, bake another 10-15 minutes, chicken should be golden brown.
Drain on paper towels, or place directly on plates and enjoy!