Monday, November 28, 2011

Northwoods Spice Oven-Fried Chicken

My mom, who is a great cook, introduced me to Penzeys.  She has been a devoted customer for decades.  Remember my post on making your own vanilla?  I buy the vanilla beans at Penzeys.  By the way, homemade vanilla makes a wonderful gift for the bakers on your holiday list.

During my last major move, most of my possessions were in storage for almost two years.  Did you know that spices lose their potency after one year?  I was like a kid in a candy store ordering new spices!

While I use their basics, like cinnamon, I have fun trying out blends from Penzeys. I've been trying to incorporate more curry in the food I cook.  Many years ago, a friend and I were eating in an Indian restaurant.  They offered four levels of heat in their dishes.  My friend boldly ordered level three.  I was a total chicken and opted for level one.  My dish was wonderful.  Out of curiosity, I had to taste my friend's level three heat.  Seriously, my tongue was numb for hours where the food touched it.  So I'm a little bit shy of curry, even though I know that curry doesn't mean heat -- it's a blend of spices.  I can heartily recommend Penzeys Sweet Curry.  It has the tiniest little kick to it that even chickens like me enjoy.

My latest addiction is their Lemon Pepper, which probably ought to be called Lemon Salt and Pepper.  It sparks up all kinds of dishes.

One of my favorites is Northwoods Spice.  It's the perfect blend for seasoning meat.  I sprinkle it on pork chops in the frying pan and use it in marinades for meats that I'm going to grill.  I used it in a flank steak marinade and sauce recently which was so good that I've been getting requests to make it again.  But saying "sprinkle generously on meat" isn't much of a recipe, so I'm sharing an all-the-flavor none-of-the-guilt recipe.

I love fried chicken, but we're all trying to avoid fried foods, so I'm always playing with oven-fried chicken recipes.  Once again, Northwoods Spice is the ticket for flavorful chicken.  The blend contains salt, so you may want to omit salt from the recipe.  I used 1/2 tablespoon Kosher salt in the buttermilk and 1/2 tablespoon in the Panko.  The chicken was delicious, and declared not too salty by my taster, but she admitted to having a fondness for salt.

After many oven-fried chicken attempts, I think the key is to use spices generously.  If you only add a teaspoon, the result will be underwhelming and bland.

Northwoods Spice Oven-Fried Chicken

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 pounds chicken pieces (about one chicken cut-up)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs (Italian herb)
1 cup flour

4 teaspoons Northwoods spice (divided)
Kosher salt (1 tablespoon divided -- optional)

Preheat oven to 400 and move rack to bottom level of the oven. Coat a baking sheet with the olive oil.

Mix the Panko and flour and add 2 teaspoons of Northwoods Spice (also 1/2 of the salt if using) in a large zip top type bag.

Mix 2 teaspoons Northwoods spice (and remaining salt if using) with buttermilk.

Dip each piece of chicken in the buttermilk and add to the bag.  When all pieces have been dipped in the buttermilk and added to the bag, shake vigorously to coat.  Place each piece on the baking pan.  Do not crowd.

Bake 40 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through and the outside is crispy.

Don't Forget Our
Christmas Cookie Contest!

To enter, send your favorite recipe to Krista (KristaDavis at KristaDavis dot com).  Better hurry!  We're baking right now.  If you wait too long, your chances get slimmer.

We'll choose 10 finalists, recipes that we'll bake and post here on the blog.
Then you, our readers, will choose the overall winner!

What does that winner win? A fabulous collection of cookie decorating supplies, that's what!

Pastel Sanding Sugar
Primary Sanding Sugar

Powdered Food Colors
Cute Flower Cookie Stencils
Send your recipe ASAP to Krista at KristaDavis dot com.
We're still looking for squares and bars, cookies with ginger, cookies with chocolate, cutout cookies, spritz cookies, and gluten-free cookies -- hurry!


  1. We try not to fry over here, too, and this oven-fried chicken sounds like a great recipe. You're so right about needing to use extra spices to make sure the chicken stays flavorful. Thanks for the spice suggestion!

  2. I'm in complete agreement with you, Krista. Cut fat and calories but *never* flavor. Wonderful recipe. (That Panko looks so crispy and delicious in your pics!) And you sold me on the Penzeys curry as well as their Northwood blend. I can't wait to try both.

    ~ Cleo

  3. Elizabeth, I would love to fry more. But crunchy oven-fried chicken is delicious, too!

    ~ Krista

  4. What did we do without Panko? It was crispy and so good. Delicious, but less crispy the next day, eaten cold.

    ~ Krista

  5. Avery, do they make a gluten-free Panko?

    ~ Krista

  6. I just looked up Penzey's site and we have one near me in Boulder, CO!! YAY!!

    This recipe looks so GOOD! Thank you for sharing this with us. I can't wait to make it for the fam and to visit Penzey's.

  7. Another Penzeys devotee here! And since I recently restocked my dwindling supply of Panko, I see this on our table in the very near future!

    Krista I love your curry story. A few months ago I ordered the Maharajah-Style, which is a nice sweet flavor combo, but I like a bit more heat so I add red pepper when I use it. I'm intrigued by the Balti Seasoning, has anyone tried it yet? I'm working my way up the hotness scale in trying their curry powders--next step Rogan Josh and then maybe finally the Vinadaloo. I've had some Vindaloo Chicken that was torturously hot, so am wondering if that would be a crazy (masochistic) idea...we'll see how it progresses.

    Going to check some of the previous posts I've missed since my NaNo frenzy. Now I'm back amongst the living! (And slightly cookie'd out from my cookie contest recipe submitting frenzy today, lol)

  8. Vickie B, I'm jealous! You'll have such fun there. It must be overwhelming to go into their stores.

    ~ Krista

  9. Lynn, I have had the Rogan Josh and it won't send you through the ceiling. I haven't tried the Balti Seasoning or the Vindaloo.

    Thanks for sending us recipes today! The rest of you better hurry, we're baking right now!

    ~ Krista

  10. Oh!! Northwoods is one of our family favorites -- I use it to season roasted vegies (potatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower). Love it!

  11. Ohhhh! I hadn't thought about using it on potatoes. I have to try that. Thanks for the suggestion, Wendy!

    ~ Krista