Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Baked Chicken and Chips (Fries)

It's National CHIP WEEK! That means that any chips (fries) consumed this week don't count toward your RDA of fat or carbs. Great! Brilliant!

With that thought in mind, the fact that I had a hooooge burger and fries for lunch yesterday, was no reason not to have another meal avec frites today. As we are still in training for my stepson's Thai food Master Chef competition, I had tom kha gai on the menu and a chicken defrosting. As it is the school half-term holiday and given that teenage boys would MUCH rather play XBox with their friends than cook with their step mom, plans changed. To be honest, I was fine with that because teaching the same dish over and over week after week to the same person isn't as thrilling as it sounds. Long story short, after a brief chat with Husband, the chicken was cut up and given my baked-chicken treatment, the mushrooms got sauteed in garlic and butter and what is baked chicken without fries?
While this isn't the lowest fat dish you could ever eat, it's considerably less greasy than the deep-fried version but still lovely and crunchy and full of flavour. This is actually now my junk-food-junkie husband's favorite recipe for chicken. It's quick and simple to prepare and is far more satisfying than a bucket from the (not state specific) fried chicken joint.

Un-Fried Chicken, Baked Chips and Garlicky Mushrooms
Serves 4 Takes 45 minutes
1 whole free range chicken
4ooml whole milk
2 tbsp pommery grain mustard (or dijon)
100g (about a cup) plain flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like spice)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1tsp mustard powder
Olive oil spray

4 large floury potatoes like King Edward or Maris Piper
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

200g closed cup mushrooms*, sliced 1/2cm thick
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
handful curly leaf parsley, finely chopped

Heat your oven to 180C/375F
First, joint the chicken (or have your butcher do it) so that you have 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 4 wing pieces and four breast halves. Use the remaining bones to make stock.
In a large bowl, mix the milk and mustard and add all the chicken pieces.
In another bowl, mix the flour and all the spices and mix well. One at a time, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour. I try to keep one wet hand and one dry hand, so that I don't end up with hands like The Thing by the time I'm done.
Lay the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and spritz with the olive oil spray, transfer to the hot oven and allow to cook for 30-40 minutes, depending on how big your chicken pieces are.
Slice your potatoes (leave the skin on) 1cm thick and then cut those slices into 1cm strips.
Par boil the chips for 3 minutes, then drain and allow to drip dry for a few minutes. When you put the potatoes in to boil, put a baking dish with the olive oil and salt in to preheat and when the potatoes are drained, toss them into the pan and toss in the hot oil. Cook in the hot oven for 15 minutes before turning and giving them another 15 minutes to finish going crisp and golden.
The potatoes and chicken should both be ready to come out of the oven at about the same time.
While your oven is doing its thing to the chicken and chips, melt as big a knob of butter as your conscience will allow in a sautee pan over a medium heat and stir in the garlic. When sizzling gently but not brown, add the sliced mushrooms and turn in the butter to coat. Sprinkle with the salt and allow to cook gently, stirring periodically to ensure even cooking and prevent burning. After a few minutes, when the mushrooms are soft and any water that has leaked out has cooked away, stir in the parsley and turn the heat off.

Serve with a big bottle of Frank's Red Hot sauce with which to liberally douse the chicken.

*Don't wash your mushrooms, as they will absorb all that flavourless water and turn to mush when you cook them. Use a mushroom brush or a damp paper towel to brush off any mud, bugs or bits of decaying fag packet that may be stuck to them.

Baked Fried Chicken

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