We all (well, almost all) remember the old ads for oven fried chicken starring that obnoxiously sweet little girl saying, “It’s Shake ‘n Bake – ‘N ah hepped…” And guess what? It was pretty good. And not least for the corporate bottom line because what they were selling was basically flavored bread crumbs at a grossly inflated price. The concept of “oven fried” gives you the crunch of fried without the mess or expense of complete immersion in oil so it’s not only tasty it’s healthier. And for the New Orleanians among us it is very similar to Congresswoman Lindy Boggs’ favorite ‘feed the masses’ main dish for political cookouts. I just call it ‘Shake ‘n Fake.’
I’ve seen versions of this that require many ingredients, not to mention marinating etc… Just don’t. This is fast food. Healthy tasty fast food, but fast food none the less. Don’t make it something it’s not because it’s great just the way it is. This is something you can throw together in a few minutes after you come home from work and 45 minutes later it’s done. By the time you’ve changed clothes, checked the mail, fed the dog and screamed at the kids it’s done. Then you can ring the dinner bell.
And when it comes to breading you have options. You can use traditional breadcrumbs or panko (read up on the difference here.) There are seasoned breadcrumbs and panko but I have tried all kinds and prefer the plain panko. The natural taste of the chicken with the lemon juice is delish and usually good enough for everyone.
The other variation on this simple recipe is whether to cook it in butter, olive oil, or a neutral vegetable oil. I like butter or a flavored olive oil but after testing the recipe in safflower oil I was distinctly underwhelmed so I would skip that unless you have nothing else on hand. A garlic or rosemary infused oil not only tastes great but smells wonderful.
To get started you will melt the butter in the pan that you plan to cook the chicken in (that’s it next to the ugly burn mark on the stove) then set that aside then set up a breading station. Next you’ll pat dry the chicken pieces (and leave the skin on. The oil that will render out of the skin will flavor the crumbs and it will make the resulting chicken more tender), salt and pepper to taste, dip in plain flour and set aside.
Beat the eggs well with the lemon juice and dip the floured chicken in it, then roll it in the panko or crumbs. Lay carefully skin side down in the oil and put in the oven for 45 minutes flipping over when half done and remove when browned.
And as they say in the cartoons, “That’s all folks!” Serve it with a tossed green salad and some boiled buttered potatoes and you’ll win the good old plain cooking award for the week.
- 2.5 lbs chicken pieces of equal size seasoned to taste with salt, pepper & celery salt
- ½ cup butter (or flavored olive oil)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅔ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups panko
- Put the butter (or oil) in a 13 X 9 inch baking dish and place in a 350 degree oven to melt. (this may require an extra pan or skillet depending on size of pieces. They should all be lying flat in the butter)
- Dry off chicken pieces, salt & pepper to taste, dip in flour & set aside.
- Beat eggs well with a tablespoon of lemon juice (or water).
- Dip chicken in egg mixture then coat thoroughly with breading.
- Place skin side down in the baking dish and cook for 45 minutes, turning once.
1 cup Panko, 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. toasted garlic granules, ½ tsp. cayenne.
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