Great comfort food doesn't have to be high in fat. And it doesn't have to require hours slaving over a hot stove. With a little forethought, it can be the easiest meal of the week.
I've been making this dish for years and it's always a hit – at elegant dinner parties and at home meals when it has been just the kids and me.
It's my version of Kraft's Shake 'n' Bake – but totally homemade, beginning with the breadcrumbs. Is that over the top? On the contrary, it's so easy and worth the little extra effort.
Save your stale bread until you have enough to line a cookie tray. Slide the pieces into a low heat oven, approximately 200 degrees, for a couple of hours. When they're dry and golden brown, grind them in a blender or food processor. If you store the crumbs in an airtight container, they'll last for months. Of course, you can also make this meal with the store-bought variety.
I usually make this dish with chicken thighs, especially when I'm cooking for kids. They are the juiciest part of the chicken, but a whole cut-up chicken also works nicely.
Sara Solovitch is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.
Breaded Chicken Thighs
- Six chicken thighs, with or without skin
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Salt and pepper
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk to tenderize and to make the breadcrumbs adhere to the meat. (I always keep a quart on hand in the fridge for exactly this purpose. It lasts for weeks – and despite its name, buttermilk is lower in fat than regular milk.)
Put breadcrumbs mixed with salt and pepper into a clean plastic bag and shake the chicken pieces one at a time until well-coated.
Lay the breaded pieces on a roasting pan, far enough apart so that they don't touch. Drizzle each piece with ½ teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle each piece with paprika.
Bake chicken for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with rice.