It’s that time of year when you have to start asking yourself: am I pro or anti picnic? While I am sympathetic to some of the compelling anti-picnic arguments (in particular, ants…), Colorado is one of the best places in the country for picnics, placing me solidly in the pro-picnic camp. In a typical summer we will pack up a lunch every week or so, and then head to a park or to the mountains to dine al fresco. Fried chicken is standard picnic fare for a lot of good reasons–it is fairly easy to pack, it tastes great cold, and it is meant to be eaten with your hands. This version is marinated overnight in a tandoori-spiced marinade made with Stonyfield plain yogurt, then coated in a grain-free breading and baked. I received free product as a member of the Stonyfield Clean Plate club, but all opinions are my own, and genuine.
I used plain, full-fat yogurt, which is what we always have on hand, but you can use a lower-fat version if you are into that. For the seasoning I used Penzey’s Tandoori spice blend, which is salt free and has no additives–just spices. If you use a version that contains salt you will want to adjust the salt amounts called for in the recipe.
Our chicken and egg C.S.A. share just started up for the season, so I cut up a whole chicken for this. When I cut up a whole chicken I put the wing tips and the backbone into a plastic bag and pop them into the freezer, then when I have accumulated the trim from three or four chickens I use it to make stock. If you have some good kitchen shears it really isn’t that hard to dismantle your own chicken. Alternatively, use about three pounds of your favorite chicken parts.
- 1 whole, cut-up chicken, about three pounds
- 1 1/2 cups Stonyfield plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 teaspoons tandoori spice blend, such as Penzey's
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon tandoori spice blend
- Place your chicken pieces in a gallon-sized, zip-top plastic bag. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 teaspoon salt, 2-3 teaspoons tandoori spice blend, and the garlic. Pour this over the chicken. Seal the bag and then smoosh it around until all of the chicken is well coated. Refrigerate overnight, or a minimum of two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two 9 x 13 inch baking pans.
- In a shallow bowl or pie tin, stir together the almond flour, arrowroot, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon tandoori spice blend. Remove the chicken from the yogurt marinade, shaking off any excess, and dredge each piece into the almond flour mixture to coat. Arrange the breaded chicken in a single layer in the baking pans, leaving a little space between the pieces (this will help them crisp up rather than steam). If you left the skin on the chicken, be sure to place the skin sides up in the baking pan.
- When all of the chicken has been coated, discard any leftover breading and marinade. Lightly spray the tops of the pieces with cooking spray to aid browning. Place the chicken in the hot oven and let it bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned.
The yogurt keeps the chicken really moist in addition to adding some tang, and the tandoori flavor adds a nice change of pace. Not into tandoori? Any spice blend you like will work as a substitute.
Do you have a go-to picnic dish that you love, or are you in the picnic-avoiding camp?
Thanks for reading,