Coca-Cola Brined Baked Not Fried Chicken

IMG_20150201_180726I took a few liberties with Chef John Currence’s recipe from his book “Pigs, Pickles & Whiskey” for Coca Cola Brined Fried Chicken. First, I put in some rosemary instead of the thyme. Then, because yesterday was Superbowl Sunday and I wanted to watch the game, not stand over hot grease, I changed up his batter and baked the chicken instead.

This is one of the few times that I will actually use Panko bread crumbs for the added crunch. I brined the chicken in the morning and then coated it and put the pan in the refrigerator until game time. I pulled it out while preheating the oven and started it cooking before the first play and I had chicken for dinner at halftime that I ate off my Coca-Cola TV tray.

To kick this dish up a notch without adding many more calories, add some grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano into the bread crumbs. About 2 tablespoons should give you a rich cheesy flavor in your crust.

Coca-Cola Brine

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups Coca-cola (two 12 oz cans), room temperature
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Louisiana hot sauce (more to taste)
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

Mix all ingredients very well and brine chicken for 2 hours.

Baked Not Fried Chicken

2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place a cooling rack over pan.

Season the flour with the next 6 ingredients. Place in a pie plate or shallow dish. In another dish, scramble the eggs with the olive oil. Place the breadcrumbs in another pie plate.

Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Dredge the chicken through the flour, then the egg mixture and finally in the breadcrumbs, patting to make sure the coating has adhered. Set on rack in pan. For additional crisping, lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until chicken is golden brown and cooked all the way through (165 degrees F on a meat thermometer). Serve immediately.

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