Crunchy Baked Chicken

Step aside, Shake ‘N Bake. There’s a new Crunchy Baked Chicken in town.

CBC

Monday’s post about breadcrumbs was a little bit of a means to an end. Without the breadcrumbs, you wouldn’t have this Crunchy Baked Chicken, but splitting this recipe into two separate posts served a couple purposes. First of all – you don’t have to limit the use those breadcrumbs to just coating chicken breasts. Second – I felt it would be easier to digest all this info two shorter posts rather than putting everything into the longest post. Ever.

In actuality, I like to make the breadcrumbs ahead of time to take some of the prep work out of the equation on the day I make the chicken. Life’s a little easier when you don’t do everything all at once, isn’t it?

Chicken

Here’s a picture that will really wet your appetite! Mmmm! Chicken breasts…all stacked up on a plate. Using a meat mallet, I gently, but firmly pounded each breast after placing it between a couple pieces of plastic wrap. This process not only tenderizes the meat, but it also evens out the thickness so that the chicken will cook in a more uniform manner.

Okay – we gotta put something on those guys – they’re making me cold.

Stations

Our chicken is going to get a triple layer of scrumptiousness before being baked in a hot, hot oven. Be sure to mentally prepare to get a bit messy. It’ll happen, but it’s worth it. Just wash your mitts before touching/contaminating everything.

Above are our dredging stations – here we have some white whole wheat flour and another plate full of a substance that – I’ll be honest – looks a little scary. Fear not – it’s just a slurry, made out of eggs, mustard and flour – and it’s going to act as a glue to adhere our breadcrumbs.

BreadcrumbCloseUpOh yeah…you remember these from Monday, don’t you? After being baked to a golden brown all by their onesies in the oven, they’ll only continue to get crispy and crunchy. To make a long story short – they’ll be the perfect coating for our chicken.

When it comes to the flour and the egg mixture, you want to shake or scrape off the excess, but these crumbs are an entirely different story. Make sure you push and smoosh them into the chicken so that you get a nice, thick coating. After all, you won’t be able to save the extra breadcrumbs if there are any – so you might as well use ’em up!

Before

As each piece of chicken reaches the end of the assembly line, rest them on a parchment lined pan until they’re ready to hit the oven.

I feel like I say this a lot, but I’ll risk sounding like a broken in order to say that this chicken looks good enough to eat – and it’s not even cooked yet.

As tempted as you may be, please refrain from eating the raw chicken. It really wouldn’t be worth it considering you’ll be biting your way into a rather unpleasant experience in addition to facing the threat of salmonella.

Crunchy Baked Chicken

adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time:
20-30 minutes

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded so that they’re 1/2″ thick
1 cup white whole wheat flour, divided
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons Dijon, honey or yellow mustard
1 recipe homemade breadcrumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425.

Place 1/2 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk eggs and mustard until combined; add remaining 1/2 cup flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.

Line a rimmed baking pan or cookie sheet with parchment. Season pounded chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge 1 chicken breast in flour; shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chicken breast with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chicken to pan. Repeat with remaining 3 breasts.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breast. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving.

Notes:

  • The bread crumb mixture can be prepared up to 3 days in advance.
  • The breaded chicken can be frozen for up to 1 week. They don’t need to be thawed before baking; simply increase the cooking time to 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Feel free to use chicken tenders or to cut your breasts into strips to make kid- and adult-friendly chicken fingers.
  • You can also use these as a base for a killer chicken parm. Just top with sauce and cheese!

ChickenCloseUp

Come on…Shake ‘N Bake ain’t got nothin’ on this Crunchy Baked Chicken.

This go ’round, I served mine with garlic roasted potatoes and a simple green salad topped with homemade, healthier bleu cheese dressing. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? A not-so-bad bleu cheese dressing does exist though – and I’ll share the recipe with you so you can start making it asap. Truth be told, it doubles as an awesome dipping sauce for this chicken.

Two birds, one dressing 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Crunchy Baked Chicken

  1. Becki Smith January 16, 2013 at 7:07 am Reply

    I’m going to try this with fish!

    • Brie January 16, 2013 at 8:28 am Reply

      I think this would be great – and even easier with fish. When I make haddock, I just top it with the breadcrumbs and a little lemon juice. No coating, no nothing! Then, I bake it at 500 for 15 mins or until it flakes easily.

      Just another note on the fish – you may want to leave out the dried thyme and poultry seasoning and just do parsley. The milder flavor of that herb will pair a bit better – in my opinion – with seafood.

      Let me know how it works out for ya!

  2. Matty S. January 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm Reply

    Looks Delicious. But i think your post is missing something but i cant put my finger on it.

    • Brie January 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm Reply

      A tribute to you?

      • Matty S. January 16, 2013 at 8:58 pm

        Haha. No tribute. Just a shout out to Eric, Michael, and I who enjoyed the beautifuly prepared meal together. Haha.

      • Brie January 16, 2013 at 9:04 pm

        I thought that went without saying – haha! Didn’t want to make any readers out there jealous that they didn’t get an invite over for dinner.

        Three of my favorite fellas – that was a good time 🙂

  3. Cookin Canuck January 17, 2013 at 8:50 am Reply

    Oh yes, this beats Shake ‘n Bake any day of the week. My family would love this!

    • Brie January 17, 2013 at 9:08 am Reply

      Haha – I hope they do! Please follow up to let me know if it passes the family taste test 🙂

  4. Eric January 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm Reply

    I agree with Matt. This dish was essentially designed for the guy…is a shout out really too much to ask? It should probably be named after him.

    • Brie January 17, 2013 at 5:45 pm Reply

      Oh my goodness – I can’t believe you guys are ganging up/going all bros before you-know-who’s on me!

      Consider this my official apology and know I’m only issuing it because today is Matt’s birthday 😉

  5. Beckimsmith@gmail.com January 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm Reply

    Made this today for some friends and it was a big hit! Great recipe

    • Brie January 27, 2013 at 10:30 am Reply

      Awesome – so glad everyone enjoyed!! Next time I make this recipe, I think I’m going to use chicken tenders and freeze some for ready-to-bake dinners when I don’t feel like cooking 🙂

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