Are these drumsticks from the July 1980 Gourmet better than fried chicken? I'm tempted to say yes. The sour cream marinade makes for remarkably juicy, pull-off-the-bone meat, while the toasted saltine cracker coating is uniquely airy and crisp.
Given the mix of perfectly piquant spices, this to me is a summer version of chicken paprikash, the ultimate Austro-Hungarian comfort food. Piled in a basket, hot or at room temperature, the drumsticks are non-fuss and fun to eat, ideally enjoyed throughout a lazy summer afternoon. This is my new favorite picnic or barbecue dish; Gourmet does it once again.
Baked Crumbed Drumsticks
Four the marinade:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- Tabasco, salt and pepper (to taste)
- 4 lbs chicken drumsticks (about 24, skinned)
- 2 cups ground saltines
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1½ teaspoons salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- pepper to taste
- melted unsalted butter
- parsley, for garnish
- In a large ceramic or glass bowl combine the sour cream, lemon juice, garlic, Tabasco, salt and pepper.
- Add the drumsticks, tossing them to coat them with the mixture, and let them marinate, covered, at room temperature for at least 1 hour or chilled overnight.
- In a shallow bowl, combine the ground saltines, the thyme, the dry mustard, the salt, the dry mustard, the sweet paprika, the cayenne and the pepper.
- Roll the drumsticks in the crumb mixture, shaking off any excess, and arrange them 1 inch apart on buttered baking sheets.
- Drizzle the drumsticks lightly with the melted butter and bake them in a preheated moderately hot oven (375 degrees F) for 35 minutes, or until they are golden brown and tender. NOTE: the saltine crackers were taking a while to brown for me, so I ended up baking them at least 20 min extra. They would probably benefit from rotating the sheet in the oven to make sure they're getting even heat. A meat thermometer can help ease concerns of undercooking.
- Arrange the drumsticks in a napkin-lined basket, garnish them with sprigs of parsley, and serve them hot or at room temperature. Serves 8.