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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Southern Fried Chicken: Recipe

How can you not associate fried chicken with summer? It's terrific for picnics, BBQs, and just general gatherings. But frying chicken well is an art, isn't it? I know everyone has a secret recipe. I think this may be the best attempt at fried chicken I've had yet! My secret? Buttermilk, salt, and a cast-iron (enameled) pot. You do need to prepare this overnight - so be aware of that and start early.

Southern Fried Chicken
6 drumsticks
6 thighs
1 qt. buttermilk
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
3 cups olive oil
4 cups vegetable oil
Kosher salt

Place chicken in large zip bag and pour buttermilk into the bag. You may want to double or triple bag this. Carefully shake bag to coat all chicken pieces. Place in the fridge for 24 hours.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder and paprika. Combine both oils into a very large, very heavy cast-iron pot (I used my 5 Qt. Le Cruset) and bring to a very high heat (test by wetting your finger with water and dripping it into the hot oil - if it crackles instantly, it's ready for chicken). Be sure your oil is really hot before proceeding.

Remove chicken from bag, one piece at a time, and submerge in flour mixture. Coat completely and gently shake off excess flour. Slowly lower piece into the hot oil and repeat - put about 4-5 pieces into the oil at one time. DO NOT OVERCROWD.

Allow each piece to become golden brown before turning over and allowing the second side to do the same. Each piece will need about 8 minutes to fully cook. Remove pieces, one at a time, and place onto brown paper lunch bags to catch the excess oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and allow to cool a bit before serving.

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