Saturday, March 10, 2012

Easier Fried Chicken

I assume this recipe is called easier because there's no deep frying. But I wouldn't care if this was called Super Challenging Pain-in-the-Ass Fried Chicken (except I'd recommend to whoever named it that it might be a tad wordy). But it's so damn good, I'd still make it. I think one of the secrets is the extra crunchy coating. Instead of dredging the chicken in just flour & spices, it's dipped in flour & spices that have been mixed with buttermilk and is all shaggy and clumpy. Then the clumps cling to the chicken and turn into these amazing crunchy nuggets of joy with delightful bits of scrumptiousness. And the chicken stays moist and juicy. You are getting hungry. Very hungry. Make this. Do it. I'm trying to hypnotize you (but probably just ruined it by pointing that out).

Serves 4-6

1 1/4 cups buttermilk
dash hot sauce
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 ½ lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken parts--breasts (split), thighs and drumsticks (or a mix)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
vegetable oil for pan frying (about 1 1/2 cups)

1.      Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, hot sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in large bowl or gallon size ziploc bag. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
2.      Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400º F. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl. Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture 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.
3.      Heat oil (about 1/2" deep) in a large straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375º F. Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer.
4.       Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160º F. for breasts and 175 º F. for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach -correct temperature.)
5.      Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

from Cook's Illustrated, published September 1, 2010
pouring buttermilk

I think it easiest to marinate the chicken in a large
ziploc, so I make the marinade right inside it.
all the marinade ingredients mixed
nice organic chicken thighs and legs added

I marinated mine overnight in the fridge.
Every once in a while I flipped the bag over.
flour and spices
flour/spices mixed; adding the buttermilk
the clumpy flour mixture
chicken thigh coated with flour mixture
pan frying
nice and golden
chicken transferred to a rack on a sheetpan
(definitely use a rack so excess fat can drip off the chicken)

fried chicken thigh up close
I tried to capture the juiciness in this
photo,but it just doesn't do it justice.

The next day I ate a piece of leftover fried chicken
cold. And some of the coating still crunched.
Cold. The next day. Still crunched!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Susan! This looks awesome. Do you think I can substitute buttermilk with just milk and lemon juice/vinegar?

Susan said...

Definitely...just add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice to 1 cup milk and let it sit for 5 minutes. Homemade buttermilk!

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