Having lived in Georgia and South Carolina, I can appreciate the amazing flavors of Southern cuisine. But I’ve never quite been able to stomach all the grease that’s often involved. So, here’s a healthier take on mashed potatoes and buttermilk fried chicken I tried: it’s packed with juicy flavor but not dripping in oil. And, using the oven makes it easier to prepare and clean up than frying on the stove: a definite “plus” for work-night cooking.
I marinated my boneless, skinless chicken breasts — which I pounded out to half-inch thickness — in a buttermilk marinade for several hours in a ziplock bag in the fridge.
3/4 cup of buttermilk
Juice of one lemon
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 diced yellow onion,
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
Before encrusting the chicken, be sure to pat each breast dry with a paper towel first. Then, dip in egg — letting excess drip off — and dredge in Panko breadcrumbs mixed with herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Lay the chicken on a wire rack atop a baking sheet before baking in a hot, preheated 375 oven. Mine took 20-25 minutes — but baking time will vary by oven. The outer crust should look toasted brown and crispy! (Good news about this marinade is that it keeps the chicken fairly moist even if you slightly over-bake.)
While the chicken is “oven-frying,” prepare the carrots and potatoes on the stove. In a small sauce pan, saute several cups of carrots in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Once the carrots get tender — about 5 minutes — add two tablespoons of good, aged balsamic vinegar and one tablespoon of light brown sugar. Continue to cook the carrots, coating in the balsamic glaze, until the liquid is reduced by about half. These are incredibly tangy and tasty on the side!