Ezekiel Faux Fried Chicken
Adapted from Chow Recipes
Good heavens, last night’s dinner was a BUST. We made the rookie mistake of combining two risky ideas into one meal, which nearly always results in failure. The dish was risotto (that’s not the risky part; we love making risotto, as evidenced here, and here and here). No, risk number one was making it with brown rice. We found a bag of whole grain carnaroli rice at Eataly a while back, and since I gave up refined grains for Lent this seemed the the perfect chance to use it. Naturally, half way through the work day I read something about soaking whole grain rice overnight before attempting to turn it into risotto, but of course at that point it was too late. So we surged ahead. Risk number two was our flavoring agent. Chicken liver. Yeah, in retrospect that one seems obvious. But we generally like pate, and I’ve been reading about how nutritious liver is, so when we saw a recipe for chicken liver risotto in our new risotto cookbook, we figured we’d give it a go. Well, more like a slow go. Un-soaked brown rice risotto = 2 painstaking hours of nonstop stirring. And after all that we learned the [very] hard way that chicken livers that have been stewing for 2 hours are gross. To make matters worse, we wasted 4 cups of homemade chicken stock, not to mention all that expensive carnaroli rice on the darn thing. So, feeling bad, I packed it up for my lunch today anyhow, and I now sit here literally choking it down while staring at the picture of delicious faux fried chicken at the top of this post. See, this faux fried chicken is a great example of taking ONE risk, and having it pay off. We knew breaded baked chicken would be good – that’s a no-brainer. What we didn’t know was whether super dry, bland tasting Ezekiel granola cereal would make a halfway decent breading agent. But sure enough, it turns into a crunchy, nutty crust. And the cinnamon flavor is super subtle, but definitely adds a certain something. I can assure you that if you make this, it will be a dinner success, with leftovers that you can look forward to [insert forlorn glance towards my Tupperware of brown, foul smelling mush…].
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
- 3 Tbsp hot sauce (we used Franks)
- 1 Tbsp salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tsp pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks and/or thighs
- 1 1/4 cups Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Cereal, with the raisins picked out (it’s pretty easy to find Ezekiel these days – look near the granola)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp), melted
- Combine buttermilk, garlic, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in a large bowl. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place it in a 13×9-inch baking dish. Pour the buttermilk mixture over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours, turning once.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fit a wire rack inside a baking sheet and set it aside. (We actually stuck one of our cookie cooling racking into a standard baking sheet. I’m sure this is not an intended use for them, and we may be slowly dying of cheap metal exposure, but what’s done is done).
- Mix the Ezekiel cereal, paprika and cayenne in a shallow dish. One by one, take the chicken out of the buttermilk, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off, and roll it around in the cereal, pressing to make it stick. Place the chicken on the wire rack.
- Drizzle the melted butter over the chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake until golden and crispy, about 35 minutes. The chicken should be 165 degrees, although we’ve pretty much stopped trusting our thermometer and just took it out after 35 minutes, at which point it was perfect.