After several failed attempts and a fair bit of tweaking, I’m very pleased to finally bring you this recipe for baked KFC-style chicken. For ages my family and I have been talking about coming up with our own homemade alternative to KFC, as the kids have had it drummed eating them that the real thing from the fast food chain simply isn’t allowed. There are a number of reasons for this, namely that it’s not the healthiest of foods and they have KFC has a terrible track record when it comes to animal welfare.
I’ve always felt slightly hypocritical in my ban of KFC. When I was a kid, it used to be my treat food and I have very fond memories of my mum taking us to Kentucky for her pay-day treat. And I loved the stuff. But times change, as have my attitudes to food, where it comes from and how it’s produced. Hence my desire to come up with a healthier, homemade version.
It’s taken a little while, but I think I’ve got the recipe just right. I served it up for Jessie and Mia and their pals recently and it went down a storm.
My quest for the perfect homemade baked-not-fried chicken started with this article in the Chicago Tribune, revealing the secret recipe which was apparently discovered in an old scrapbook belonging to Colonel Sanders’ second wife.
My first attempt was pretty disastrous. I followed the Tribune’s recipe, based on the scrapbook notes, to the letter, but we could barely eat the end result as it was much too salty. So then I started playing with the proportions, drastically reducing the salt and celery salt, and instead of frying, I tried baking the chicken. After a few more attempts, I’d say I’ve nailed it.
Baked KFC-style chicken
Serves 4-6, depending on appetites
8 free range chicken drumsticks
4 free range chicken thighs
200g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp English mustard powder
½ tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp garlic granules
1 tbsp ground ginger
sunflower oil spray
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, pour over the buttermilk and mix together to completely cover the meat. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 200°C / gas mark 6.
Prepare a couple of baking trays by covering with greaseproof paper or foil.
Tip the flour and all the dried herbs and spices in a large food bag. Hold tightly and give it a good shake to mix it all together.
Take the chicken pieces one by one from the buttermilk, shaking off the excess, and toss in the bag with the seasoning, making sure they’re completely covered. Again shake off the excess, before placing on the baking tray.
When all the chicken pieces are covered in the floured seasoning, give them a generous spray with sunflower oil, and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes, spraying with oil a couple more times during the cooking. Pierce with a sharp knife to make sure the chicken is cooked through – if the juices are pink, pop back in the oven for a little longer.
Serve with your favourite KFC-style accompaniments. We went for buttered corn-on-the-cob, homemade coleslaw, baked beans, and chips (of course).
And yes, it is 100% finger-lickin’ good 🙂