Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fried Chicken

So...I had yearning, a hankering, a need for crispy, fatty fried chicken. Something about preparing fried chicken makes me feel like I'm mainlining America (this kind of language always unnerves my husband, who thinks I've had a more colourful past than the one I own up to). It makes me wish I were Southern.

The Dixie Chicken we found at the side of the road in the Catskills was welcome, warm, and just what we needed that cold day, but I wanted to see if I could erase the memory of the pale chicken skin we found beneath the thick batter. Pale chicken skin - it has no place in our lives.

I am not a master fryer, so was still feeling my way around, alarmed at how much oil I had to buy. Was it corn or vegetable? I forget.

So, I took apart an organic chicken, with wings, legs, thighs, breasts (cut in two), and a piece of the back, too.


1 quart buttermilk
1 Tbsp paprika
1-1 1/2 tsp salt (taste before you put the chicken in, for seasoning, and adjust)
1 Tbsp cracked pepper (this will give your pepper grinding wrist a workout)
2 tsps powdered coriander

Taste for balance, and add chicken pieces. Refrigerate and keep as long as you can, up to a day. I managed 6 hours.

Flour coating:

About 2 cups flour
2 tsps salt
Lots of black pepper
1 Tbsp paprika
2 tsps powdered coriander

Dip finger into flour mixture to taste. Maybe add more salt.

In a cast iron skillet or Other, heat enough oil to almost cover chicken - about 2" deep.

Meanwhile take chicken out of buttermilk, piece by piece, and dip and roll each piece in the flour mixture, pressing onto the skin if it threatens to fall off. Lower into oil once a test piece sizzles. Add about half the chicken pieces - more and you will lower the heat too much. Cook about 8 minutes per side, turn carefully when deep golden. Don't have the heat as far as it can go, or the crust will cook faster than the meat inside and you'll get burned, underdone chicken and an oil fire at once. (Remember not to put water on the fire. First turn off heat, then cover with a lid! Walk, do not run.)

Do not overcook the breast pieces: they cook faster.

As pieces are cooked, transfer to wire rack placed over kitchen paper or something else to sop up dripping oil. I read Alton Brown's advice for fried chicken and he said for some reason not to put it right on the paper. Reasons? Steam?

It was pretty good. The best, crispiest crust I've had so far. No pale skin.

I'd like to experiment more with seasonings. I'm wondering about lemon zest in the buttermilk.

I had a Scrumpy's Cider with my chicken. Vince was dealing with the leftovers of his Chivas, lemon and Cointreau cocktail.

We both had an early night...

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm, I could handle some fried chicken also.

    Bet the buttermilk tenderises it beautifully.


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