This is my version of crispy fried chicken inspired by Sugar Free Farm. During one of ITV’s weight loss series, one recipe got everyone salivating: the crispy fried chicken coated in oats and cooked in lard. Yes, lard. Lard for weight loss. Go figure. Here’s my version of the recipe, enjoy!
Just to clarify: this is my version of the crispy fried chicken featured on ITV’s Sugar Free Farm: I watched the programme a couple of times and freeze-framed the steps of the recipe. Therefore, I guessed what the ingredients were based on what I saw and I created this recipe from combining other crispy fried chicken cooking videos I have watched. For example, on Sugar Free Farm there is a dry marinade with chilli, a wet marinade with buttermilk or milk, and a dry coating with oats. Therefore, if you want to follow the same steps as the programme, you mix the chicken with the spices first, then dip it in milk (or a mix of milk and egg), and then coat it with oats. I chose to let the chicken infuse with all the flavours and then simply coat it in oats.
Traditional Crispy Fried Chicken: Now That’s Crispy Chicken!
The secret to crispy fried chicken is to use vegetable oil for frying and plain flour for the coating. I’m afraid that you won’t get a crispy coating if you use oats and lard. Sorry!
Crispy Fried Chicken Recipe
150 ml buttermilk
200 gr porridge oats
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the coating
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus a pinch for the oats coating
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 chicken drumsticks
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
20 gr lard
Prepare the marinade for the chicken by combining in a bowl the chopped garlic, Cayenne pepper, black pepper, chilli flakes, buttermilk and salt. Put the chicken thighs into the marinade and mix very well to combine all the ingredients and cover the chicken pieces completely. Keep in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.
Remove the garlic from the marinade once the chicken has marinated, either take a plastic freezer bag or a flat plate and pour the oats, adding a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper and the dried oregano. Coat the chicken pieces in the oats. If you like a thicker crust, dip the chicken pieces back in the buttermilk marinade and in the oats once more.
In a large frying pan, heat 20 grams of lard until melted and cook the chicken pieces for 5-8 minutes on each side, turning regularly. Heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and transfer the chicken on a roasting tray. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes. Check that the meat is cooked through: if you pierce it, juices must run clear and not pink.
If the coating falls off the chicken, add a beaten egg to the buttermilk marinade, dip the chicken and cover with a mix of wholemeal flour and oats. Oats on their own will not stick to the chicken very well, however they do have a nice crunch when you cook the chicken. Also, cooking with lard will not make the coating crispy so finishing the cooking in the oven will ensure that you get a nice crust.
Crispy Fried Chicken Inspired by Sugar Free Farm: The Verdict
Personally, I won’t be cooking anything that requires a crispy finish in lard. The coating absorbs the lard, then it sticks to the pan and it can burn. I understand that lard has a higher smoking temperature compared to vegetable oil, which makes it more stable at high temperatures. Also, I understand that cooking with lard will make you feel fuller and prevent you from falling victim of any sugar cravings. My verdict is that it’s not worth the hassle but I am sure the actual crispy coating would come out much better if you use vegetable oil.
After eating the chicken, I had a bit of heartburn and felt heavy for hours. Would I recommend this recipe? No. Would I rate this recipe as being healthy? No way! It’s really up to you if you want to try making the crispy fried chicken at home: if you do, just remember that this type of food should only be eaten in moderation.