Saturday, August 19, 2006

Fried chicken with bacon; Spicy baked sweet potato chips

Fried chicken is one of those great foods where you have to work really hard to mess things up. Everybody has their own recipe, their own tricks, their own technique, and it's always good (with the possible exception of Sandra Lee's fried chicken, which involves salt and flour, nothing more... it's a bland mess).

I came across a fried chicken recipe that I knew I had to try as soon as I saw it, because it had the magic word in it: Bacon.

Fried chicken and baked sweet potato chips

This ingenious idea was in The Cook's Book, a very large cookbook with chapters that are authored by different chefs according to their specialties. It discusses the basics, but also goes beyond the basics with some unique recipes. It seems like it would be a great choice for someone starting a cookbook collection (my copy is visiting from the library).

Start with 2 lbs of chicken, cut up. Add Dijon mustard, salt, and cayenne pepper. Pour buttermilk over chicken. While the chicken sits in the buttermilk, fry 4 rashers of bacon until crispy. Crumble the bacon into 3 cups of breadcrumbs. Heat up oil. Dredge chicken pieces in the breadcrumbs and fry until golden. Done.

Fried chicken Baked sweet potato chips

I also made some sweet potato chips flavored with brown sugar and cayenne pepper, to match up with the bacon flavor in the chicken. I baked the chips in an attempt to pretend that at least part of this meal was healthy. The "chips" won't come out crispy, but they're still quite tasty (if I do say so myself).

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Chips
Makes 2 servings

2 sweet potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes into rounds between 1/8" and 1/4" thick (I used my food processor's slicing blade for this).

Combine the olive oil, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the sweet potato slices and toss to coat evenly. Spread the slices out on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, tossing once to minimize sticking.

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