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Joey's Chicken

I'm happy to say, we're finally in summer mode here!

Summer is business-as-usual for me, but for my 17 year-old son it means working as a camp counselor at an outdoor science camp for seven out of the nine weeks of break. I'll tell you what. As much as I hate that he leaves his clothes in a heap on the downstairs bathroom floor, that kid has a strong work ethic and loves earning money!

Food-wise, our kitchen gets an extra workout in the summer. The kid enjoys cooking for himself when he's at home. He also needs to pack a hearty lunch to keep his energy up at camp. Add in a few of his starving friends hanging out at our house in the evening, and our fridge can easily get wiped out in no time flat. Since nothing makes me happier than a house full of kids, I like to make easy, abundant recipes to accommodate these visits. Basically potluck food.

Speaking of potluck food, have you ever made a dish that people love so much they fall all over themselves at the first taste. Although I've got a few recipes like that under my belt, my hands-down favorite is Joey's Chicken.

Joey's Chicken is named in honor of my friends Saul and Suesan's then seven year-old son. As the story goes, my family hosted a group of friends for Shabbat dinner and the moment Joey took his first bite of my chicken, he slapped the dining table and ardently declared "This is the BEST chicken I've had in my whole life!" We all paused for a second, then burst out laughing! Naturally we've been calling it Joey's Chicken ever since!

Joey's Chicken is a super simple, kid-friendly oven fried chicken. It's savory, crunchy, and tastes just as good cold as it does hot. In other words, good for dinner AND lunch the next day. Win/Win! Making Joey's Chicken is quick and easy. My trick is to mix a double amount of the breading in a gallon ziplock, pour out what you need onto a plate, then seal the bag up and save the rest to use later. And trust me, you will want to make it again and again!

Here's how to make the breading. In a bowl or ziplock, pour in 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of coarse yellow cornmeal. This is the base. Now mix in seasonings to taste. Onion salt, garlic salt, freshly ground pepper, kosher salt, smokey paprika, sugar, and ground ginger. Turns out the ginger is that classic secret ingredient that gives this recipe its zip. If you want, you can also add a shake or two of cayenne and a handful of crushed corn flakes. Or dried herbs. Or whatever sounds good. Experiment around. The world's your oyster!

To make Joey's Chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Moisten the chicken pieces (We like thighs and drumsticks.) with either milk, buttermilk, or beaten eggs mixed with a splash of water. Coat generously with the breading and bake, skin side up for 50 - 60 minutes. My best advice is to err on the over roasted side because that makes the chicken even crispier! Let Joey's Chicken rest for five minutes, then pile on a platter and dive in!




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