Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fried chicken recipe

So...I had yearning, a hankering, a need for crispy, fatty fried chicken. Something about preparing Fried Chicken make some 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 was 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 bought. Was it corn or vegetable. I forget. Southern cooks would kill me.

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


1 Quart buttermilk
1 Tbsp paprika
1- 1 1/2 Tbsp salt (taste before you put the chicken in, for seasoning, and adjust)
Enough cracked pepper to make the surface black
2 Tsps powdered coriander

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

Flour coating:

About 3 cups flour
1 Tbsp 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 flour, pressing onto skin if it threatens to fall off. Lower into oil once a test piece sizzles. Add about half the chicken pieces, so as not to 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, or sand?

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?

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. I'll post a comment..that looks delicious!! I have been having THE WORST craving for some FRIED CHICKEN...mine is never too good. I have trouble with that "heating the oil just right thing"...either get it too hot or too cold...

    I guess I use a thermometer...duh?

  2. I think the bubbles are the clue. Keep nice even, medium sized bubbles going.

  3. Damn. Dit lyk vreeslik goed. En congrats op die deep frying, jy lyk asof jy al amper 'n expert is. Ek is maar bra bang.

  4. Anjo-m - dit was eintlik bra maklik: ek dink omdat ek die cast iron gebruik het. Dis donders swaar and not quick to throw a fit.

  5. Love the broken Afrikaans at the end!

    About the paper to catch the drips. Yes, good idea to raise (any) meat above the drip-catcher. Otherwise, it goes soggy in its own little grease puddle and you lose the crispiness. Also, as the dripping grease cools the taste changes. Just think: greasy-spoon-cafe-type-food.

  6. there must be a contagion sweeping the area...my father was pining for fried chicken this weekend! He resisted my offer to come up and spatter his new kitchen with cooking oil, however! Yours looks golden and crunchy...and no icky pale skin.

  7. of course i will be trying this because and i say GET OUT OF MY MIND MARIE! I have been thinkingof fried chicken for the past week and a half and getting ready to buy the buttermilk before that fat girl inside my brain says, "what are you nuts?" and the gilr who likes to live it up says, "go fer it." thamks for always always enabling (and writing out the recipes).
    oxo, deb

  8. so of course, I must ask if you've been to Sylvia's on 125th? If you don't feel like braving the frying again, go up there. I fantasise about the chicken from Sylvia's.

  9. Dinahmow - my Afrikaans get brokener and brokener. Hearing it spoken in parts foreign can reduce me to tears. Or not. Depends.

    QC , you're right - maybe it's the season. It's frighteningly hassle-free I found, which is not really good news. I went jeans shopping this morning, and let's just say I have to hit the sit up routine or else.

    Bonbon - see above??? :-) Oy. Sigh. I'm going to have to quote my friend's inner Chinese lady on this one...watch this space.

    kbd, actually, I haven't. Is it as good as they/you say, really? Oh boy. Trip must be made.

  10. Chivas, lemon, cointreau cocktail...now that sounds divine!! Please, do tell more...quantities of each...how served??

  11. Camille - I'll have to get more Cointreau and try and reconstruct it to tell. I was being good and getting rid of leftovers. But more or less

    3 tots Chivas
    1/2 tot Cointreau
    Juice of one lemon
    2 tsp brown sugar

    Muddle sugar and liquids. When dissolved, pour over ice in a shaker. Shake like the blazes, strain and serve. I tried without the Cointreau, and it was a bit too sharp.

  12. Thank you for the recipe...I have all ingredients & will go make one immediately as my dinner cooks!!

    Even though you found the cocktail w/o the Cointreau too sharp, you might want to try the following hot toddy when the snow blows & the cat crawls under the covers in fear of the howling winds....

    - 1 tsp. (or to taste) liquid honey
    - 1 1/2 oz (or more, depending on the day you've had) blended Scotch
    - Pinch of cinnamon
    Put above ingredients into a heated mug & fill with boiling water. Stir well. Add a 1/2 slice of lemon & a sprinkle of nutmeg. I like to press the lemon slice to extract a bit of juice....tres comforting on a cold winter's night!


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