Honestly, I don’t remember when I started making Cornflake Chicken or where/how I came upon the recipe. Actually, I don’t have a recipe. It’s like I’ve just always known how to make it, not because it was handed down to me in that genetic way that some family recipes seem to find their way into our minds. No, this tradition started with me, and I like that.
I think of the special dishes my mom and grandmother made over the years, how the very thought of my mom’s fried chicken or my grandmother’s Grand-pére et Grand mére (beef stew with dumplings), makes my mouth water and my whole being feel comforted. And that’s the way my family feels about this oh-so-simple dish. Last night on the phone, when I told my son Mitch that I was making Cornflake Chicken so I could form a recipe for this blog, his first response was, “Uuummmm, wish I was there.”
I remember my two sons scrambling to be the one who scooped up the last deeply toasted bits of cornflakes soaked in chicken juice from the baking pan. And, on special occasions like birthdays or holidays, if they got to choose a menu, Cornflake Chicken was often on it. Mitch’s pick over the past holidays was … you guessed it … Cornflake Chicken.
I like to offer meals as a package. What good is it to know how to make Cornflake Chicken if then you have to think up what to serve with it? So here’s how I put the meal together to compliment the yummy chicken:
(served with Smashed Potatoes, Garlic Green Beans & Kitchen Sink Salad)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
4 bone-in chicken thighs
2 ½ cups cornflakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or other preferred seasoning; use less if watching salt intake)
1 egg, beaten
Baking sheet or pan, lightly sprayed with cooking oil
Put cornflakes in a sealed Ziploc bag. Use a rolling pin to finely crush the flakes. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a can or crush with your hands. Mix in seasonings.
Trim excess fat from chicken. If you use skin-on thighs, retain only the skin directly on top of the thigh. It adds great taste, but skinless is fine if you’re watching fat intake. Legs, whole breasts, or boneless breasts and thighs work fine, too.
Dip a thigh into the beaten egg, put in the bag of cornflakes and coat, using fingers to pat the mixture onto every part of the meat. Gently transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with rest of thighs. If you have cornflake mix left over, pile it evenly over the thighs. Don’t waste any of that crunchy goodness. The stuff that falls of the meat and browns in the pan is the stuff everyone scrambles for later. (P.S. If by chance you don’t have an egg on hand, don’t worry. Just moisten the meat with water and coat with cornflake mixture. It works just fine.)
Bake for approximately 45 minutes.
Smashed Potatoes: Brush 3 – 4 small potatoes to clean skins; cut into 1 inch pieces; peel and slice 3 cloves of garlic; add potatoes to lightly salted water; boil until tender. Drain water; add 1 teaspoon (or so) of margarine or butter, a heaping tablespoon of sour cream or yogurt, 1 finely chopped scallion, seasoned salt and pepper. Smash everything together.
Garlic Green Beans: ½ pound of fresh green beans, washed and trimmed; 2 cloves of garlic, minced; 1 teaspoon of butter or margarine; 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Heat butter and oil in sauté pan; add garlic, cook 2 minutes; add beans and sauté at medium heat, until then are bright green and still crunchy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
“Kitchen Sink” Salad (everything but the kitchen sink is in it): Chopped red lettuce, thinly sliced red pepper, mushrooms, onion and cucumber. I had about 1/3 cup of frozen, baby peas left in a bag (why, I don’t know), so I thawed them and added to the salad; then finished it off with some sliced blue cheese stuffed olives and a bit of Ken’s Ranch Dressing. (Normally I would make my own dressing, but my husband loves green peas, onions and mushrooms in ranch dressing, so being that all those ingredients were in my salad, I succumbed … and it tasted dang good!)
I hope you give Cornflake Chicken a try. It’s easy and delicious … and who knows, maybe it will become a tradition in your family, too. Or, share one with me. Tell me the story behind one of your favorites. Happy eating!