When spring rolls around each year, I start wanting potato salad. There, I said it. I love that carb-packed, mayo-laden delicacy. And what goes with potato salad better than fried chicken? Nothing. Except more potato salad.
That was my plan for dinner tonight; potato salad, fried chicken, and garlicky green beans.
But then I went to Stein Mart and started trying on clothes, and when I came up for air, it was 5:15 p.m. Knowing I wouldn’t get home until 6, I had to postpone the labor-intensive potato salad (which I’ll blog about another day), but still wanted and needed to fry up the chicken, as mama used to say.
When I mentioned on Facebook that I was going to be frying chicken, my friend Terri asked me how I make it and if I’d share how I do it, so I’m going to try to write down what I do. Admittedly, sometimes it’s hit and miss when you’re frying chicken. But here is a pretty good way to do it, with pictures.
Oh, and here are my red tulips I bought Friday to use on “In The Kitchen.” I am so crazy about them! I think tulips are my favorite flower for 2011. Just had to share. Then the recipe.
MamaSteph’s Southern-Fried Chicken
Chicken, cut up into pieces (I often just get a package of drumsticks, as they are uniform and are my guys’ favorite piece.)
Step one: Place chicken pieces into a very large bowl. Cover with buttermilk to which you’ve added 4 TBS or so of Louisiana Hot Sauce, or similar.
Allow to brine in the buttermilk for an hour or longer. This makes the meat more tender and juicy. It really works, so try it out!
Canola oil to fill a dutch oven 2 or 3 inches deep (or whatever method you prefer; some of you may have an electric fryer, deep fryer, etc. which is great. I just use a big chef pan.)
Three cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 TBS dried cayenne pepper
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt (you may or may not want to add more salt, to taste, next time.)
Whisk all breading ingredients together in another large bowl. Add six tablespoons of buttermilk to the mixture and use your fingers to mix it into the flour until it is incorporated throughout flour and all looks crumbly.
Place chicken pieces, one at a time, into flour mixture. Don’t just roll it around in there, but actually press the flour mixture into the chicken. It will stick and be a nice, thick coating on the chicken.
Then, follow these directions from America’s Test Kitchen’s website:
Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with 11-inch diameter over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces, skin-side down, in oil, cover, and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid after 4 minutes and lift chicken pieces to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. (At this point, oil should be about 300 degrees. Adjust burner, if necessary, to regulate temperature of oil.) Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. (At this point, to keep chicken from browning too quickly, adjust burner to maintain oil temperature of about 315 degrees.) Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate lined with paper towels; let stand for five minutes to drain.
It was easier just to let them say it than to try to explain it myself. They are very scientific. I have to admit, though, that I don’t use a thermometer, I just watch how it’s frying and how brown it looks, while timing it about 6 minutes on each side.
Here’s how mine looked:
It was delicious tonight; it truly was juicy inside, very flavorful, and wow, that crispy skin….well, it’s just perfect. I should add that this is a “sometimes” food, not something a healthy person should eat often, but when you get a hankering and just have to have it, you might as well do it right and enjoy it.
By the way, if you want to remove the skin before breading the chicken, you can; just know that the final product will not be as crispy. Still good, though!