Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: Healthy Comfort Food: "Fried" Chicken, "Fries," and Greens

Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

Every month or so during the summer, we order three chickens from a local farmer. These chickens are delicious, free-range, and antibiotic- and hormone-free. For those local readers, we get them from Ernst Farm.

Usually, I roast the chickens. C and D just love roast chicken, especially with mashed potatoes. Today, however, my schedule was screwy and I couldn't be home for the full roasting time. And then I thought I was really, really in the mood for fried chicken. And then I thought that was a really, really bad idea for my health and weight.

As with most areas of cooking, however, I was able to compromise. We had a great comfort food supper of Fried Chicken, Fries and great greens, and fat and particularly saturated fat, was kept to a minimum. I give you:

A Healthy Comfort Food Supper

(The sucky photography fairy is still visiting me, so my apologies for the photo.)

"Fried" Chicken


1 3-5 lb. chicken, skinned and carved into pieces
2 cups of lowfat buttermilk (or less - see below)
4 smashed garlic cloves
a few dashes of hot sauce to taste
1 - 2 cups of seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated parmesan

1. Mix together buttermilk, garlic and hot sauce in a large bowl. Throw in chicken pieces and marinate for 2 - 12 hours.
2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 and put the rack up to the upper third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil cooking spray.
3. Mix together the bread crumbs and parmesan.
4. Shake each piece of chicken to get rid of excess buttermilk, and then cover the chicken piece completely with the crumb/parmesan coating. Place on baking sheet.
5. Spray the chicken with the olive oil spray.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, turn carefully, and bake for 25 minutes more.

Serves 4 - 6.

Fingerling "Fries"

2 - 3 lbs. of Fingerling potatoes
1 - 2 TBS olive oil
kosher salt to taste
Montreal Steak seasoning to taste

1. You can use a lower rack for this recipe, which will also be cooked at 400 for 50 minutes. If you're just making the fries, preheat the oven to 400.
2. Wash and scrub a batch of fingerling potatoes. Make enough for however many people you're feeding (you know your friends/family's appetites better than I do!) Most folks will use about 2 - 3 lbs. to cover two baking sheets.
3. Cover two baking sheets with foil. Slice potatoes into 1/2" thick wedges.
4. Toss potatoes in 1 - 2 TBS olive oil. (I used 2, 1 would have been sufficient).
5. Spread potatoes evenly on baking sheets.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, then flip them over and bake for 25 more minutes.
7. When fries are ready, sprinkle them with kosher salt and Montreal steak seasoning and toss.

Serves 4 - 6

Jen's Really Good Greens


1 bunch fresh kale, rinsed and torn into bite size pieces
2 LARGE cloves garlic, sliced
olive oil spray
kosher salt to taste
2 pinches of cayenne pepper (or more, to taste)
1 - 2 TBS red wine vinegar.

1. Spray frying pan and heat to medium/medium high.
2. Throw sliced garlic into the pan and cook about 30 seconds, until odor is released.
3. Throw in the kale and cook until kale wilts.
4. Take off the heat and season with the salt, cayenne pepper and red wine vinegar.

Serves 2 - 3.


Korie said...

But see, as soon as I read "fingerling" I thought of Jim Carrey's psycho character in The Number 23 and now I can't eat them.
Well, maybe some day I'll eat them.

Núria said...

This is the kind of chicken we should all eat... a healthy chicken!!! I should buy it too but cannot find it in the supermarket I normally go :(

Goofball said...

"until kale wilts", I am learning a lot of new terms here. Now if only I'd remember them as well, it'd be great :p

sounds like a delicious meal. And you know 45 min I am going to eat fried chicken in our kantine with hot apple sauce. probably not as good as this, but it is a consolation for me :p.

Yesterday I saw we still have 2 nice chicken legs in our freezer, so this is how they might end up !!

My mom alwasy fries her chickenlegs the same way: she covers them plenty with musterd and then fries them. Yummy! And obviously you must serve them with fries, as you did ;)

Jen said...

LOL, Lilac! Just use any potatoes and cut them accordingly. The fingerlings are easy because they're skinny and delicious. ;-)

You can't find whole chickens, Nuria? I stripped off the skin myself and cut it into pieces. I may not have been clear enough on that.

Wow, Goofball, I haven't heard of the mustard version. I'll have to try that. In general, I don't like frying things because I shouldn't eat fried foods. That's why this was a good compromise for me. And hey, you didn't make ONE joke about the buttermilk, lol.

Dru said...

I love fried chicken that is made in the oven, so much better for you.

What is fingerling potatoes? Oh, I see that you answered it. Would it be labeled as such if I went to the food market?

I'm not a fan of kale, but would collards work?

Have a good Wednesday.

Unknown said...

How very brazen of you to publish your recipe for Fried Chicken when just last week KFC went to elaborate measures to protect their very own recipe for fried chicken. You obviously have no appreciation for national security! :)

Jen said...

Dru, collards would be even better, I think. That's what I was craving, but I had kale. ;-)

Greg, yup, that's what I'm all about - upsetting the status quo!

peter said...

This looks great. My oven has a convection setting- if I cut the bird up and season and cook it that way, it's done in half the regular roasting time. But I might just try something like this.

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Love the "faux" fried chicken Jen...the buttermilk is a fantastic idea. And quite a healthy meal overall...delicious!

Jen said...

Peter, I bake this on convection. When I do the convection roast it's really quick, too. The problem is that I have this great recipe from Mark Bittman, but it involves flipping the chicken over and produces a lot of smoke and then I have to deal with fire alarm and I'm SHORT! So... this was easier being home alone.

Peter G. - the buttermilk is a great addition - it's traditional for many types of Southern-style fried chicken in the States.

Mae Travels said...

I'm puzzled: how did you fit 3 cookie sheets (1 chick, 2 potatoes) into your oven?

The recipes sound delicious. My neighbor gave me some unidentified greens a couple days ago, and I ate them for lunch immediately, tossed in butter with a little deli ham and some hoi-sin sauce to make them a main dish. I separately chop the stems and cook them for a few minutes before adding the torn-up greens so that nothing is stringy.

Thistlemoon said...

I love fingerling potatoes! They just make the best oven fries! Looks like a great meal, Jen! I am all over it!

Anonymous said...

Jen, these recipes some awesome! I love the fingerling ones (never saw the movie 23, but now I'm curious!!!), because I have so many just waiting to be used....

Thanks, girlfriend :)

Jen said...

Mae, I have a double oven, but actually, I could fit the three into one - the chicken on one shelf and the two cookie sheets vertically below (which is what I did) they overlapped just a tiny bit, but it all still worked!

Jenn - this might be a good meal for one of your movie nights with Roberto.

Patti - these fries are great - truly.

anno said...

Oh, boy, this sounds great! And even though this is "healthy," I bet it would please my fried chicken fans around here... I like Goofball's idea of using mustard, too.

Tami said...

The roasted chicken and potatoes sounds delicious. I love Montreal Seasoning so I'll definitely try it on the potatoes!


Jen, I need to do this one. Hubby likes comfort food but we need to lose weight. Thanks for your helpful info on the blueberries and Northwestern. I'm so glad you are in my blogworld.

Jen said...

Anno - this is a meat and potatoes pleaser for certain.

Tami - I find it gives a nice kick. Makes the fries a bit more like fries, so to speak. And thanks for stopping by!

Widney - Glad both tips helped. I actually learned about the blueberry trick when I was in Toronto this summer - our host put blueberries into his french toast as it cooked and they were SO good! Like you, I'm trying to lose weight, and this allowed me to enjoy but be healthy. Thanks for the kind words!

Anonymous said...

it's got buttermilk in garlic, so in my book it can't be bad.

still, there's nothing better than a perfectly roasted chicken. well, almost nothing.

Mariposa said...

Thanks for the visit Jen...I myself has been buzzing around but here...miss yah!

painted maypole said...

you always cook the greatest sounding stuff. i could not participate in this, because today I was cooking.... frozen pizza.

RecipeGirl said...

I'm in need of some good comfort food, and if it's on the healthier side that's just even better!

Edward Vielmetti said...

I love oven fried potatoes - they work well with sweet potatoes too when those come into season. Just be sure not to burn them (that sounds obvious when you type it, but it's from experience).

Sarabeth said...

I will be trying the greens as I picked some up at the farmers' market.

Momisodes said...

I've never tried cooking kale before. It looks delicious and something I would really enjoy :)

Fingerling potatoes? I'll have to find me some of those too!

Ben said...

Oh wow Jen, you turn a classic around and made it delicious! :D I love my "fried" chicken too. I haven't had it in a long time so I will try yours next week.


Jen said...

Michelle - thanks so much for stopping by. I agree that buttermilk and garlic are a great combo, and that perfectly roasted chicken is amazing. But this was nice for a change.

Mariposa - Miss you, too!

PM, trust me, I have those days, too. Being part of the CSA pushes me to use new things (ie. the fingerlings and the kale and the garlic).

Recipegirl - thanks for stopping by! I think we all need comfort food from time to time, and this makes it doable.

Edward - good point. These could probably be cooked a few minutes less, but it depends how crispy you like your fries. These weren't burned, but they were crisp. Thanks for stopping by!

Sarabeth - they're awfully good and easy!

Sandy, both kale and fingerlings are great finds. A friend of mine made a recipe for kale "chips" that's out of this world. I'll try to find the link.

Ben, I had to find a better way. ;-) I knew when KFC was starting to look good that I had to find an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. God. This looks incredible. I tried to fix something healthy to eat the other day. Epic Fail. This, I think I can do.

Jen said...

Dingo, this really is easy. I'm also going to post another healthy comfort food dinner - chile rellenos and pico de gallo salad in two weeks (also an easy one, other than one step). Next week I'm posting and orange-olive salad for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

heathy and yummy? A very nice combination.

Alex Elliot said...

Sounds yummy! I make a similar fried chicken recipe but with crushed cornflakes (which are fortified so good for my kids!).

Anonymous said...

Healthy comfort food - I'll have to try this for sure. I love fried chicken but I don't really eat it because its so bad for you.

Shan said...

This looks fantastic!!

Life is Good said...

Yum! I am going to try this with my chicken breasts tonight. I am thinking it should still work. Sounds great.

glamah16 said...

That is so my type of dinner. It looks really tasty and comforting.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This is what comfort food is all about for me.........and healthy too:D