Sunday, April 09, 2006

Oven-Fried Chicken and Baked Spaghetti

Ever-searching for that perfect chicken recipe... juicy inside, crispy outside, yet not dripping in fat/oil. We may have found it in this Oven-Fried Chicken.

Two split breasts (bone-in) were finally ready to be cooked so we threw them in a brine consisting of cold water, salt, sugar, hot sauce, worcestershire, a dash of liquid smoke and some bay leaves and let them await their fate in the fridge for an hour and a half.

The recipe is easy enough after that - preheat oven to 425. Throw a tablespoon pat of butter in a baking dish (enameled cast iron, glass, or whatever you got) and put that in the oven for the butter to melt. Meanwhile, mix the following in a big freezer bag: flour (about 1/3 cup whole wheat mixed with about 1/3 cup all-purpose), paprika (a tbls or two), salt (a good amount), ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Take the chicken out of the brine and pat dry with a paper towel and - one at a time - place the chicken in the bag and shake to coat. Pull out and shake off any excess and place, skin-side down, into the buttered dish. Repeat with all the chicken. In the oven for 20 minutes, then turn skin-side up and go for another 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your breasts...

Make sure the juices run clear and pull out and let rest. These came out PERFECT - juicy, tender white meat and a delicious, crispy crust that tasted and felt like legitimate fried chicken. A HUGE find, this recipe - we highly recommend it!

We got creative with what to have with the chicken - we had a list of ingredients and we improvised: whole wheat spaghetti, 28 oz. can of tomatoes, package of frozen spinach, shredded cheddar and jack cheese, garlic, olive oil... Our friend described her baked macaroni and cheese earlier in the day, so we thought "let's combine all this stuff in a dish and bake it!".. and hope for the best.

Cook the pasta al dente. Meanwhile, thaw and thoroughly drain the spinach - squeezing out all excess liquid. Combine the spinach with the can of tomatoes, reserving the liquid from the tomatoes. Mix in a small handful of the shredded cheese, some salt, red pepper flake, oregano, basil and stir that up. Put cooked pasta into glass baking dish with a little olive oil drizzled on the bottom. Add this spinach/tomato/cheese mixture and stir to combine. Top with another handful of cheese and add to the oven. When our chicken came out, we lowered the temp to 350 to finish this dish (ideally, this is in at 350 for 30 minutes).

Cooking this uncovered allowed that top layer of cheese and pasta to get a nice burnt crust that produces a great, nutty flavor in the whole wheat pasta. Next time we'll add some sauteed garlic for more flavor, but this came out great.

All-in-all, a fantastic dinner made mostly with stuff we had lying around the kitchen!

1 comment:

Helen said...

Hi Boston Chefs,

Your oven fried chicken is an awesome idea! By the way, I'm not sure if you're interested or if you have the time, but I've just tagged you for a cookbook MEME.

The details are here:

Can't wait to read your answers!