Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Classic Fried Chicken

I have been craving comfort foods lately and this classic fried chicken recipe certainly fell in the comfort food category.  This was the best fried chicken I have ever made and I have been cooking for 38 plus years, so that says a lot right there.  It is a recipe that I will probably wait a whole year to make again since it is totally not the healthy kind of food I usually strive for.   Just for the record, it was worth every calorie and bit of fat consumed in the process.

Since I cooked it on my stovetop in a large skillet, I oven roasted our side dish of potatoes, carrots and onions.  I must admit that I did miss my mashed potatoes with my fried chicken.

Classic Fried Chicken
Makes 4-6 servings

1 3-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces or 3 pounds of chicken pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 quart buttermilk
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 sprigs thyme
3 cups all purpose white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
vegetable oil for frying
vegetable shortening, for frying

Season the chicken generously with salt and black pepper; place on a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

Mix the buttermilk, hot sauce, bay leaf, garlic and thyme in a large resealable plastic bag.  Add the chicken, makng sure the pieces are submerged.  Seal and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

Mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne, 3 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in a resealable bag.

Fill a deep 12-inch heavy skillet halfway with equal parts vegetable oil and shortening.  Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees.

Remove about half of the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off.  Transfer to the bag of seasoned flour; seal and shake to thoroughly coat.  Remove from the bag, shake off any excess flour and transfer to a rack.

Carefully lower the coated chicken into the oil.  The temperature will drop to 300 degrees to 325 degrees; adjust the heat to maintain this temperature so the crust doesn't burn before the meat is cooked.  Fry, undisturbed, 2 to 3 minutes to set the crust, then carefully lift with tongs to check the browning; continue to fry, turning as needed, until golden brown and cooked through, 12 to 14 more minutes for smaller pieces and 14 to 16 more minutes for larger ones.  (A thermometer should register 160 degrees in the breasts and 170 degrees in the thighs and drumsticks.)

Remove the chicken to a clean rack to drain, sprinkle with salt and let rest a few minutes.  Repeat with the remaining chicken.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

From Food Network Online

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