Southern Style Chicken, Sort Of

Being from Southern stock, I am always a fan of being Southern fried and satisfied but it’s not always, er, light. Enter the oven “fried” chicken breast. I’ve seen recipes with cornmeal, flour, or panko floating around online, but my old standby breading is the same as the one my granny always used—Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. While I’ve never made the quintessential corn muffins the mix was made specifically for, I have breaded many a piece of fish, eggplant or green tomato slice, pork chop, and chicken breast with that delicious stuff. Just like Granny, I prefer it to the grittier and grainier plain old cornmeal as the Jiffy is soft, sifted, and coats marvelously. Eat up friends, just like Granny always did. Sort of.

Cornmeal Crusted Oven “Fried” Chicken
–4 chicken breast halves, pounded to same thickness
–1/2 box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix (I put the rest in a sandwich bag and store in the fridge for next time)
–Paprika
–Garlic powder

–Salt & pepper
–1 egg, beaten
–1 TBSP canola oil

Pour the muffin mix into a shallow bowl for dredging. Add several healthy shakes of paprika and garlic powder and a pinch of salt and two pinches fresh cracked pepper. Wish the mix lightly with a fork to distribute the spices throughout. Making a good breading is a matter of taste and being able to eyeball the dry mix. If you like spices, add more. Remember, it’s better to start light and add more than it is to over season off the bat. Lightly beat the egg in another shallow dish. When we aren’t being as, ahem, health conscious, then we soak the hell out of the chicken in hot sauce and buttermilk. But remember kids, this is the light version…

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Line the bowls up and dunk each chicken breast in the egg wash and the seasoned dry mix until each chicken breast is evenly coated. Add each breast directly to the hot pan to brown. Sear each chicken piece so that both sides of each breast are browned. Place the browned chicken breasts into an oven safe dish and pop in the heated oven for 20 minutes. If you aren’t sure if the breasts are cooked through, or if the pounding to “even thickness” went awry, stab a knife into the deepest part of each breast to check when the breasts are done. Eat!
Dammit Jim, I’m not a doctor…
Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4
Calories: 240 per serving

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