Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Easier crunchy fried chicken

A while back I posted an America’s Test Kitchen version of super-crunchy fried chicken. There was what I would call a serious flaw in the recipe, which I managed to work around. In the latest edition of Cook’s Illustrated magazine (same folks as test kitchen), the same basic plan is published – but with the flaw fixed. There are two things I especially like about this: the chicken does get very crunchy; it’s done with shallow frying … hence, less oil.

We have two sayings in our house when at the dining table: “It’s a keeper,” and “Restaurant menu.” That’s the restaurant we’d have if we had a restaurant. This one scored on both points.

The actual time frying is not to be done by the clock. Just keep an eye on it and turn it when the color is right. Same with the second side. I was cooking only drumsticks, good-sized ones, and they were done after 12 minutes in the oven. One mistake we made (we were ravenously hungry) was to not let the chicken rest long enough. The coating came off a bit while we were eating it. Next time the resting period will be a full 10 minutes.

I prefer posting my own recipes, but in this case it’s worth sharing as is. I can call this partly my own. I played loosy-goosy with the amounts of spices and well, I think.

Easier crunchy fried chicken (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1 cup buttermilk, divided
dash hot sauce
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne, or to taste
2 lbs. chicken parts, bone in, skin on
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ¾ cups vegetable oil

Whisk ¾ cup buttermilk, 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tsp salt, and remaining black pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl. Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture little by little and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.

Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down. Cook 3-5 minutes until underside is golden brown. Turn pieces and cook additional 2-4 minutes. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken to internal temp of 160 for breast and 170 for thighs and legs, 15-20 minutes. (Smaller pieces will cook faster than large ones.) Let rest 5 minutes before serving.


Mary said...

I love fried chicken, but don't fix it often. Because it makes such rare appearances on our table it is really important to begin with a really good recipe. You've given us one. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Jenn said...

I was going to say the same thing as Mary.. I love fried chicken but just don't fix it very often. I love the method of shallowing frying and then baking...this is one I will definitely be trying! Uhmmm...can you fedex one of those legs to me???? :)

Create. Snap. Eat. said...

YUM! What a fantastic idea! And they look wonderful. I was raised to love fried chicken, but stay away from the stuff now. But I should try this.

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