Fried chicken is the ultimate comfort food with its crunchy skin and batter. It was one of my favorite meals that my mother made on Sunday when I was growing up. A whole chicken would be cut up, battered and then deep-fried in oil in a large cast iron skillet until golden brown. It was served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. A simple meal that made our family happy.
I can’t say that I wouldn’t enjoy that meal today but my tastes have changed over the years. I try to eat a little healthier while adding more flavor. I have taken my mother’s meal and tweaked it to fit my husband’s and my way of eating.
Our meal consists of nicely seasoned boneless and skinless chicken breasts, coated in panko breadcrumbs and pan fried in a little oil. Garlic mashed potatoes are topped with a flavorful gravy made with a little applewood smoked bacon and 1% milk. The flavors are so good that I don’t think you would miss the bucket of chicken and sides that come from a fast food restaurant.
Crispy Panko Chicken
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
This recipe is based on one chicken breast per person. Adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 2 chicken breasts, approx. 6 oz. each
- 1 egg, beaten with salt, pepper, and 1 Tbsp. milk
- garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. flour, more or less
- 1 c. panko breadcrumbs, more or less
- peanut oil for pan frying
Season each chicken breast with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Dust chicken with flour, dip into seasoned egg wash and then into the panko breadcrumbs. Let dry on a rack for a few minutes. Then dip into the egg wash and panko again and let dry.
While the coating is drying, heat about a 1/4 inch of oil in a ovenproof skillet over medium high heat. When hot. add the breasts and cook until golden. Turn and brown on the other side. Remove chicken from the skillet and pour off excess oil. Return chicken to the skillet and place in the oven to finish cooking for about 6 to 8 minutes depending on the thickness.
Smoky Bacon Gravy
- 1 or 2 strips of thick sliced applewood smoked bacon, cut into small dice
- 2 Tbsp. reserved bacon drippings ( butter may be substituted)
- 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1 1/2 cup 1% milk (regular milk can be used)
- salt and pepper to taste
Cook bacon pieces in skillet until crispy. Remove from the pan and reserve. Pour off bacon drippings except for 2 Tbsp. Sprinkle in flour and whisk until combined for about 1 minute. Slowly pour in half of the milk whisking until smooth. Add the remaining milk and cook for several minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved bacon. Thin with extra milk if necessary.
The panko crusted chicken is simple to prepare. It is crunchy on the outside and tender and moist on the inside. I served it with some of the gravy for the garlic mashed potatoes. The chicken would also be perfect for a picnic. Put it in your picnic basket with some pasta salad, brownies and a thermos of cold lemonade.