We need to have a talk about my husband.
It’s kind of a big deal and has been an on-going problem since I started exploring eating Grain-Free.
It’s the Oven Fried Chicken. Remember this recipe? Yep, that one. The one I was on TV demoing this past weekend (video coming soon).
Well, that is one of my husband’s favorite weeknight dinners and when it disappeared from our dinner rotation, he was not happy. I can’t say I blame him, it is a delicious chicken dish and is also one of my favorites as well.
I set out to make a Whole30 compliant and Paleo Oven Fried Chicken Recipe that was just as crispy, crunchy and spicy as my original recipe.
Oven-Fried Chicken is ALL ABOUT THE CRUMB and getting a crispy, crunchy crumb that sticks well without any type of grain flour is no easy task.
The first few attempts were pretty pathetic. The coating fell off when you picked up the chicken. Even worse, it often came off in big “slabs” when you took your first bite.
After playing around with different ratios of almond meal and almond flour, I finally nailed it and man, it is GOOD.
And my husband? Well, he is thrilled. He declared that he likes this version BETTER, no joke.
- I very rarely tell you to buy stuff just to make a dish but if you are serious about oven-fried chicken, you need an elevated baking tray (they are called cooling racks) so the bottom can get crispy instead of soggy.
- If you want to avoid non-stick cooking sprays, get an olive oil mister. The spray of olive oil before going into the oven is crucial for crispy-success!
- I used a combination of almond meal (ground raw almonds with their skins on) and blanched almond flour (finely ground blanched and skinless almonds). You can make your own almond meal if you have raw almonds and a food processor. Trader Joe’s also sells it pretty cheap ($3.99 / lb). As for the blanched almond flour, I just buy that! I have tried this recipe with just almond meal and with just almond flour as well as other combinations and it didn’t have the crunch.
- You can make this with all legs, thighs, breasts or any combo of the above. But if you go with a whole chicken, make sure to ask the Butcher to remove the skin and cut it into 8 pieces (2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 legs and 2 wings). This is a major time saver!
- Skinless thighs are 3 Points Plus each plus 3 Points Plus for the breading so 6 Points Plus each.
- Skinless legs are 2 Points Plus each plus 3 Points Plus for the breading so 6 Points Plus each.
- Skinless breasts 3 Points Plus each for 4 ounces plus 3 Point Plus for the breading so 7 Points Plus each.
- This is based on actually using half the breading and half the egg mixture (see recipe for details on what is leftover)
- One 4 to 5 pound chicken, cut up into 8 pieces, skin removed
- 1½ cups almond meal
- ¾ cup blanched almond flour
- 1½ Tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoons paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ⅛ cup unsweetened, plain almond milk
- olive oil sprayer
- Place an oven rack in the upper third position (second one from the top). Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with tin foil and placing the cooking rack on top. Use the olive oil sprayer to generously coat the cooking rack.
- Mix the almond meal and almond flour in a bowl. Use a fork to sift through and break up any clumps.
- Add salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, oregano and garlic powder to flour and use fork to mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl (flat enough to dip each piece of chicken in) beat the eggs with the almond milk.
- Grab a small baking sheet or plate. You are going to use this to coat the chicken instead of dipping in the almond flour. You are doing this for two main reasons - almond flour tends to absorb moisture and get crumbly which you desperately want to avoid so you can get a good crumb and because you only need about ½ of the almond mixture and we don't want to contaminate it all with raw chicken.You should have your small tray or plate, skinless, bone-in chicken, almond flour mixture with spices, beaten eggs and olive oil mister set to the side.
- Use a spoon to spread some of the almond flour on the bottom of the tray.
- Dip a piece of chicken in the egg until well coated.
- Place on tray and use the spoon to dump some of the flour mixture on top of the chicken. Pat the flour mixture onto the chicken until all sides are coated and place on the cooking rack.
- Repeat untill all of the chicken is evenly coated and on the cooking rack. Make sure to leave space around each piece of chicken. Finally, use the olive oil sprayer to give each piece of chicken a nice coating (it should shine or appear misted).
- Bake for 1 hour, 10 min. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Enjoy!
- NOTE that I had about ¼ cup flour mixture leftover on the tray that was contaminated by the raw chicken so I threw it away. Same thing for the egg - trash it.
- If you were careful and used a spoon to scoop the flour mixture from the mixing bowl and have any leftover (I had 1 cup), store in an airtight glass jar and save for the next batch!