Saturday, February 5, 2011

Fried Chicken, Redux

Again with the chicken?  Why?

Well, because,  last summer when I had to make a TON of Fried Chicken for a couple of fried chicken lovers' Very Important Birthdays,  I decided I needed to streamline my method of frying chicken a bit.  I needed to move things along, get it going, hurry up, dammit, too many other things to do!  Like sitting down to rest!  And then I decided that I liked the finished product better after the streamlining.
And so, for the sake of complete and full disclosure, and to help others sit down and rest, I am changing the way I fry chicken.  Forever.

And in honor of "Justified"'s 2nd season on AMC,  here is the newer, cleaner, quicker, more powerful way to fry chicken!  Less cleanup,  less standing, less dipping, less worrying about raw chicken.  I think Raylan would approve!

The only hitch is this: you need to plan ahead.  This method of frying chicken 
requires that you give it enough oven time to ensure thorough cooking.
Here is what you need:
Peanut Oil
Self-Rising Flour
Regular Flour
Garlic powder
White Pepper
Chicken.  Size of the pieces doesn't matter.
Here are the steps:

1. Start with rinsed and dried unfrozen chicken.  Soak the chicken in buttermilk.  Just buttermilk.  This  is not technically a brine, but the buttermilk is salty and the enzymes in the buttermilk tend to break the meat down a little.  You can do this for a couple of hours or overnight.

2. Mix self-rising and all-purpose flour in equal proportions.   I had a lot of chicken to fry for this batch,  so I used 2 cups of each.

Then I added
1tsp. white pepper,  1tsp. paprika,  1/2 tsp. garlic powder and 1 T. salt.
Mix all this with a whisk in a large bowl.

3.  Set your oven to Bake at 200°.  Line a roasting pan with brown paper and a rack if you have one.  If not, just the paper do.  Put that into the oven.

4. Put about 4 cups of peanut oil into a heavy dutch oven and crank it up.  Give it about 5 minutes to heat up really well.

5. While the oil is heating up, take two or three pieces of chicken
directly from the buttermilk and put them on the seasoned flour.  Lay them down gently, and leave them for a minute, then gently flip them over.  Make sure all parts have been dredged in the flour. Then let it sit for a couple of more minutes to bond.

6. When you are convinced that your oil is hot enough (bubbling),  carefully put the (3 or less, never more) pieces of chicken in.  Turn the heat to medium.

7. After about 5 minutes turn them over.

8. When the chicken is dark golden brown all over, (in other words, about 5 more minutes or until it 
looks perfect) take it out and put it into the roasting pan.  Don't worry about pink insides, it's going to cook some more.  But it's not going to get darker, and it will stay crispy.

Continue with the rest of the chicken, and when you are finished, leave the chicken in the oven for at least another hour to make sure it's all
cooked.   If you are nervous about it, check the deepest part of the biggest piece of chicken with an instant read thermometer and see that it's over 165°.  It should be.

This beats KFC.  Any day. 
So, what do you do with the left-over oil?
As well as making a very fine coffee, Chock full o'Nuts makes a dandy old oil receptacle.


Lydia said...

I simply love your blog. I used to live in El Paso and still have the Seasoned with Sun cookbook from 1978, which I will defend with my life. Sadly I live on the East Coast now. If you are a posole person, would you please do a posole rojo post? I would love to see how you make it. Also, where did you get the pan you used for the carne picada? I used to work in downtown EP and eat at H&H all the time. Thanks for your wonderful blog. After reading some of your entries, i want to come and live in your backyard!

Jan said...

Hi, Lydia. Thanks so much for the encouraging remarks! I'm sorry to tell you that I am not a posole gal and I can't help you there! And I am not shilling for this outfit, but here is a link to the pan in the carne picada post. I love it and use it all the time.
Thanks again.