Yes to Yummy

Healthier Fried Chicken

April 8, 2013 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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I know what you’re thinking: fried chicken, HEALTHY?! How could something battered in flour and fried in oil be HEALTHY?!

Well, with the help of Charles Mayfield’s Paleo Comfort Foods, I successfully recreated this indulgent Southern dish without the extra guilt.

Even though this fried chicken is certainly healthier for you, it’s not something I recommend eating every single night. Save it for a once-in-a-while treat—it’ll make it all the more special.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with tinfoil. Place a wire rack on top and lightly grease it to prevent sticking.

Meanwhile, heat 1 1/3 cups of refined coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Unrefined/extra virgin coconut oil will leave you with a coconut-y taste as well as splatter more, so save yourself the trouble. 

In a large bowl, whisk 1 cup of almond flour with 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder, a good pinch of salt, and a crack of black pepper. In a medium bowl, lightly beat two eggs. You’re now ready to assemble the chicken.

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First, dip each piece of chicken in the egg, then toss in the almond flour mixture to coat. I used about two pounds of drumsticks and thighs, but any chicken part will do.

When the oil’s hot (at about 350 degrees…although honestly, I didn’t check), add in the chicken. Watch out for sputtering grease! Cook until browned on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes…

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…then flip over with a long pair of tongs. Continue frying for another 3 to 4 minutes.

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Remove the chicken from the oil and place on the prepared wire rack/baking sheet. Bake on the top rack of the oven until cooked through and crispy, about 15 minutes.

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To add some nutritive value to this meal, I made two delicious side dishes: carrot timbales (also courtesy of Paleo Comfort Foods) and braised red cabbage.

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For starters, you’re going to need carrots. LOTS of carrots. I used a little over a pound, which yielded 4 6-ounce timbales. 

Shred the carrots and 1 to 2 cloves of garlic. You can be old-school and use a box grater, or you can be lazy like me and use a food processor.

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Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large skillet over low heat. Add the carrots, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook until brown and tender, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, and add a little bit of water if it starts to stick.

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Next, put the carrots in the bowl of a food processor or blender and add 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (go easy—nutmeg is VERY overpowering), 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Process or blend until completely smooth, adding more coconut milk if the carrots aren’t mixing nicely.

Add two eggs to the food processor or blender and process for 1 additional minute just to combine. 

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Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (Note: I baked the carrot timbales before the chicken.) Put some water to boil on the stove-top.

Grease 4 6-ounce ramekins with olive oil or coconut oil. Evenly distribute the carrot mixture among the 4 ramekins and place in a large roasting pan.

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When the water is boiling, pour it into the roasting pan so it comes halfway up the side of the ramekins. (You don’t have to be exact—just don’t completely cover them!) Bake for 45 minutes, or until set and beginning to brown on top and around the edges.

To make the cabbage, heat up 1 tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of lard (yes, lard) in a large skillet on medium, then add 1 large thinly sliced onion. Saute until light golden brown, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add 1 small head of red cabbage to the skillet. (You could also use savoy or nappa cabbage.) Add 4 tablespoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, turn the heat down to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes. If the cabbage starts to dry out, add some more vinegar, water, or chicken stock.

Once the cabbage has softened a bit, season it well with salt and pepper. Add in one green apple, chopped into matchsticks, and stir it to incorporate. Cover the cabbage with a lid and cook until everything is tender, about another fifteen minutes longer.

Taste before serving, and add 1/4 cup orange juice if the cabbage seems bitter.

Voila—a flavorful, comforting meal that you CAN have. Don’t be ashamed to lick your fingers and scrape the plate!

What’s your favorite comfort food? Leave me a comment and let me know! 


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