>> Wednesday, January 11, 2012
With all the indulgence over the holiday season, people tend to try and eat a bit cleaner at the beginning of the New Year. However, there is no reason why we can’t still enjoy certain foods that are usually in the “bad” or “unhealthy” categories, by lightening up the recipe and using different cooking techniques. It’s a great time to explore how steaming, baking and sautéing make for just as good if not better alternatives for certain dishes.
A great dish to make over was is fried chicken. It’s great for both adult and children because who doesn’t love a crispy chicken thigh or drumstick? Since lately I’ve taken up on making butter (recipe to come), I have also had an excess of buttermilk on my hands (as a by product). I can only eat so many biscuits and wanted to change things up. What better way then to use it to marinate some chicken for a healthier version of fried chicken.
Nutritional Tidbit: Buttermilk is high in potassium and probiotics, both of which are highly required by our bodies. We often experience high sodium levels due to processed foods. By eating more potassium it balances out the high sodium and helps bring down blood pressure. Probiotics or live bacterial cultures are important in keeping a healthy digestive system. They boost immunity and help ease digestion. Plus buttermilk is usually lower fat then regular milk and also provides other nutrients like vitamin B12, calcium, riboflavin and phosphorus.
The second important ingredient in this recipe is the panko bread crumbs. It’s what really gives the chicken that extra bit of crunch, otherwise missing in regular bread crumbs. So if you were to substitute an ingredient in this recipe, make sure to stick with the panko or else you might end up with a completely different outcome.
The best part about this recipe is, while my husband was eating it, he didn’t really miss the fried chicken! He did say it was less greasy, which is a bonus. Also feel free to play around with the different spices used creating your own personalized version as well.
This is an adaptation of the original which can be found here
6 skinless chicken drumsticks
1 cup low fat buttermilk
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
In a large glass bowl, place chicken, buttermilk, thyme, basil, cayenne, paprika, pepper, salt, garlic and onion powder together and let sit at least 1 hour to overnight. The marinating times will differ depending on whether the chicken was frozen or fresh. I marinated mine for at least an hour, but if left overnight the buttermilk will continue to tenderize the meat while the seasonings really get a chance to flavour the chicken.
When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Also spray a bit of pam on the tin foil to prevent the chicken from sticking.
In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and set aside.
In a separate small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs with 1 tsp salt, you could also try seasoning salt, all purpose seasoning or even chicken spice rub instead. However stick to panko bread crumbs because that’s what really provides the crunch and texture in this recipe.
Remove the chicken from the fridge (if marinating overnight), do not rinse off the marinade and dredge it in the eggs and quickly place it in the panko mixture. The egg allows the bread crumbs to adhere without falling off.
Place each drumstick on the baking sheet without them touching. Giving it each drumstick enough room is important for them to cook properly and remain crispy.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the juices runs clear. Best served straight from the oven.
Makes 2-3 Servings