Learn the secret to creating a skin-like crust (without the skin) on this lightened pan-fried chicken.
THE READER: Robby Champion, independent education consultant, Staunton, Virginia
THE RECIPE: Lemon-Ginger Fried Chicken
THE STORY: This entrée’s great taste made it a Champion favorite for years. In 1987, when Champion and her husband, Jim, discovered the recipe, it didn’t have nutrition information. “We absolutely love this dish, but it’s easy to tell it isn’t as healthful as we would like it to be,” she says. They tried to lighten the recipe several times without success. “We are trying to lead more healthful lives and want to enjoy this meal without feeling guilty,” she explains.
THE DILEMMA: With one whole chicken serving two people, portions were oversized, yielding high calorie, fat, saturated fat, and sodium counts.
- For starters, the gargantuan portion sizes had to be brought down to size. A serving now includes either one breast half, or one thigh plus one drumstick; this brought the calories per serving down by about 300.
- Removing the skin from the meat and double-dredging the chicken maintained a crisp crust while shaving 317 calories, 17.4 grams of fat, and 4.7 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat per serving.
- To bring sodium under control, we swapped fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth for the regular version, and used 1 teaspoon kosher salt to season the four-serving yield. This trimmed 494 milligrams of sodium per serving.
THE FEEDBACK: “Jim and I enjoy this version as much or more than the original,” says Champion. “Flouring skinless chicken twice gives it a wonderful crust. I’m thrilled the new version maintains the flavor and texture of the original.”
BEFORE | AFTER
891 calories | 375 calories
45g total fat | 15.5 total fat
9.3 g saturated fat | 3.3g saturated fat
1,179mg sodium | 578mg sodium