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March 26, 2015

Frying Times

Crispy, Crunchy, Moist and Delicious Fried Chicken
Call it what you will, but time seems to be moving more quickly these days, or at least in my life, the tempo and pace have definitely picked up.

I hate to say that I'm missing out on the things I so thoroughly enjoy, but as I walked along the pathway to my front door the other night in near pitch blackness, I could smell the wisteria, the roses, the orange blossoms and I knew that some how, when I wasn't looking, Spring had arrived.

The next morning, a glance from the breakfast table window confirmed my suspicions--the yard was in full bloom, everywhere, a pop of color as if Monet himself had snuck into my yard as I slumbered and painted a spectacular and breathtaking landscape worthy of wall space in any museum.

A trip into the kitchen to pour my second cup of coffee and from my peripheral vision, I caught sight of my trusty Amana, still and stoic, waiting for my return. It had been a while since I'd spent time cooking, instead, letting life get in the way. My wistful mood, however, turned more serious when I watched as Mr. B opened the refrigerator and leaned in, a hopeful countenance upon his face. I could see over his shoulder and the emptiness of the refrigerator shocked me; aside from several jars of yogurt, a few odd pieces of fruit and good supply of cheese, there seemed nothing of any substance upon the shelves. Even Mr. B seemed pale and thin--the refrigerator light, perhaps?--and the realization that I hadn't been cooking much at all of late, stopped me cold.

It was clear that we were living in frying times and that the only remedy to satiate Mr. B and absolve my guilty conscious would require a plump chicken and a pint of oil--a small price to pay for weeks of neglect.

Anyone who knows me even slightly, will undoubtedly know that for me, there's more than one way to fry a chicken and each recipe and method has its own purpose, brings its own memories and is chosen for its own specific soul soothing reasons. Why, having a single recipe for fried chicken would be like owning a single pair of shoes--simply not something I can wrap my brain around. Thankfully, Mr. B has a fondness for fried chicken that rivals my own and anytime he's in need of a little extra attention, the best place to start is by putting a plate of crispy, moist and delicious fried chicken in front of him.

This recipe is an all time favorite, the milk brine and double dredge produces an extra thick and crispy crust and covering the chicken for the first few minutes of the frying time results in chicken so moist that you'll need an extra napkin.

Here's to Mr. B, a man who definitely appreciates a plate of fried chicken!

Extra Crunchy Fried Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut into parts (halve breasts)
1/2 gallon of whole milk
3 tablespoons of hot sauce (I like Crystal's)
4 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of salt
2 bay leaves

1 cup of flour in a zip bag

3 eggs
3 cups of milk (add 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes)
3 teaspoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of baking powder

3 cups flour
4 tablespoons of paprika
1 tablespoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of salt

Vegetable oil for frying


1. Heat the 1/2 gallon of milk until just beginning to bubble; add the salt, sugar, hot sauce and bay leaves. Let cool completely and then add the chicken.

2. Refrigerator overnight.

3. Drain the chicken in a colander over the sink, discarding the brine. Pat dry with paper towels and toss, one piece as time into the flour in the zip bag. Set aside.

4. Mix together the 3 eggs, lemon milk, baking powder and baking soda in a big bowl. Prepare yourself; adding the baking soda and lemon together will make the mixture bubble and rise like a science project.

5. Mix together the flour, paprika, black and cayenne pepper and the salt.

6. Soak the chicken in the egg mixture for 5-10 minutes and then piece by piece, dip into the flour mixture, dredging carefully and shaking off any excess flour. Set aside on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and continue the process until all of the chicken is coated.

7. In a large frying pan, pour in about an inch and a half of oil and heat to 350 degrees. Gently add the chicken pieces, careful not to crowd them and cover for the first 5 minutes.

8. Remove the lid (lower the temperature if needed) and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked, turning as necessary; chicken is usually cooked through in about 18-20 minutes.

9. Remove from pan and set on a wire rack with a brown paper bag underneath to catch any grease. Immediately sprinkle with salt.

10. For best results, serve with Hotter Than Hello Chipotle Coleslaw and frosty mugs of beer.

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