Grab chips, pretzels for cripsy chicken

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By J.M. Hirsch
AP Food Editor
If you want crunchy breaded chicken, you need to start with crunchy ingredients.
That’s one of the problems with most baked “fried” chicken recipes. They coat the chicken with flour- or bread crumb-based coatings that rely on you to make them crispy.
Substituting a coating that starts life crispy long before it ever meets up with the chicken removes that element of chance.
For salty, savory goodness, this recipe uses crushed potato chips and pretzels, but any combination of similar ingredients would work. For example, for a Mexican chicken, you could use tortilla chips.
While a food processor is best for turning the chips and pretzels into crumbs, tossing them into a plastic bag and whacking them with a rolling pin or skillet works, too. But the crumbs must be fine; large ones don’t adhere well.
This recipe keeps the seasonings in the coating mostly neutral, but its easy to improvise. Grated Parmesan cheese would be good, as would any number of spices, such as oregano, paprika, even curry powder.Or experiment with flavors by using varieties of potato chips with different seasonings. Ranch or salt and vinegar chips would be particularly tasty.
Creating a white pan sauce for the chicken is easy, but you could easily skip that step of the recipe and serve the chicken however you prefer.Potato Chip and Pretzel Baked ChickenStart to finish: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
2 ounces plain potato chips
2 ounces thin pretzel sticks
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 eggs
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil1 1/2 C. sweet white wine (such as Riesling)
Pinch saffron threads
1 tsp. dry parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp. cold water
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a food processor, combine the potato chips, pretzels and red pepper flakes, then pulse until they are reduced to very fine crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a wide, shallow bowl and set aside.
In a second wide, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and soy sauce. Set aside.
Carefully slice each chicken breast in half horizontally to create 2 thin fillets.One at a time, place the chicken breasts in the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Dredge each fillet through the chip and pretzel mixture, turning to coat both sides.
In a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until very hot. Add the chicken breasts and cook until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn the breasts, then place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the wine, saffron, parsley and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spoon to release any browned bits.
Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, then add the butter and swirl it in until melted.
In a small glass, mix the cornstarch and water, then add to the skillet. Return to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the pan sauce.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 352 calories; 114 calories from fat; 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 118 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 25 g protein; 0 g fiber; 354 mg sodium.
J.M. Hirsch can be e-mailed at