National Fried Chicken Day!!!!
Universally loved and universally argued about.
Deep fry, shallow fry, oven fry (yes, you can do it), small fry, etc......
No matter how you do it, fried chicken is an American staple that can either be sublime or devastaing in preparation.
Here's one of my favorite KFC rip-offs :
Here's one of my favorite KFC rip-offs :
Kosciusko Fried Chicken
This is an easy, no hassle, very basic, shallow pan-fry with a flavorful coating that will have you comin' back for more.
A 12 inch (30 cm.) Cast Iron Skillet or any heavy sauté pan with sides
Heavy Kitchen Tongs
A Large Mixing Bowl
A Large Plastic Bag with no holes in it
A large Platter with a Paper Towel and Cooling Rack on top
Your trusty Coffee Mug
One (1) four (4) pound (2 kg.) whole Frying Chicken cut up into eight (8) pieces (you know, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 breasts)
- INGREDIENT NOTE : One of the biggest mistakes that people make when attempting fried chicken at home is not getting the right chicken. Yes, there are different kinds of chicken out there. Most people tend to get chicken that's too large. An "oven stuffer roaster" or stewing hen, no matter how tasty that it may be, doesn't fry up so good because the pieces are too big. Ideally a small chicken, sometimes referred to as a Freyer (gee, I wonder why that is?), approximately three (3) to four (4) pounds (1.5-2.5 kg), is best because every piece will cook at approximately the same pace and not burn before golden perfection. If you're like me, I prefer thighs and drumsticks; so I just get the econo-sized "family" package of parts which solves this problem completely. As always, it's your call.
One (1) Egg
Regular Whole Milk, Half and Half, or Buttermilk (again, you pick it)
Oil for frying (Canola, Peanut, Grapeseed, or whatever you have on hand)
- INGREDIENT NOTE : If your arteries will let you, the two best ways to fry chicken are using either lard or Crisco® vegetable shortening. Personally I would go with the lard, but I leave those health decisions up to you.
3 1/2 cups All Purpose (AP) Flour
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon fresh ground Black Pepper
1 tablespoon fresh ground White Pepper
1 tablespoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian Paprika
1 teaspoon Cayenne powder
1 teaspoon Cumin powder
Take the Chicken parts out of the fridge and give them a rinse under cold water. Pat the chicken pieces dry with some paper towels and place them on a platter to warm up to room temperature. Believe me, do not skip this step; room temperature chicken insures good frying.
Place all of the COATING INGREDIENTS into the Plastic Bag, close the top, and give it a good "boom-shaka-lacka-lacka-lacka-boom" to mix everything together. Taste your coating mixture with a clean wet finger to see if there's enough seasoning.
Fill your trusty Coffee Mug full with some Milk (or Half and Half or Buttermilk, depending on what you're using) and pour it into the large Mixing Bowl; about two (2) cups or so if you want to be fussy about it. Crack the Egg into the Bowl and give it a mix with a convenient fork. Season the Milk and Egg mixture with a sprinkle of Kosher Salt and a few grinds of Black Pepper.
Place the Cast Iron Skillet over medium to medium-high heat to warm up. Fill the skillet with enough of whatever kind of oil that you are using to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm.).
While everything is heating up, place all of the clean dry chicken parts into the Plastic Bag with the Coating. Give everything a good shake. Fish out each piece of chicken, one by one, and dip it into the milk mixture. Return the milk dipped chicken back to the plastic bag with the Coating. With all of the chicken dipped and back in the bag, close the bag and do a solo conga line all around the kitchen shaking as you go.
By the time you've worn yourself out the oil should be hot. Take a good size pinch of the Coating mixture from the Plastic Bag and sprinkle it into the Skillet to test it. It should pop and sizzle and make merry noises. If the Oil is not hot enough, don't worry; the chicken is happy communing with the Coating in the Bag.
When the oil is hot, add the thighs and drumsticks first. Do not over-crowd the pan. Go and make yourself a cockytail and come back in about seven (7) to nine (9) minutes.
Oh, you're back. Using your Heavy Tongs, turn over each piece of chicken to the uncooked side. Return to your cockytail and come back in about six (6) minutes.
The drumsticks and thighs should be golden brown all over. If not, just let them be for another few minutes. Using your Heavy Tongs, fish the drumsticks and thighs and place them on top of the Cooling Rack with the Platter and Paper Towel underneath it.
Repeat with the breasts and wings. With the breasts, begin with the skin side down in order to get nice crispy skin. White meat takes less time to cook than dark meat; so, turn the breasts and wings over after about five (5) minutes on the first side. After about five (5) minutes turn them over and give them another five (5) minutes on the second side.
When done, fish them out of the hot oil and let them cool down with the others.
- TECHNIQUE NOTE : All of these cooking times are completely approximate; everybody's stove and skillets are different. So, how do you really tell when the chicken is done?? It may be golden brown and delicious looking on the outside and the burning desire to immediately cut into it and check is strong, but don't. If you do cut into the chicken you puncture the protective coating that you took so long to fry and allow the juices to run out giving you dry chicken. The easiest way is to check one of the chicken pieces with an instant read thermometer, the fleshy part of the breast should read 165°F (74°C). If your perfectly golden chicken is not done, just place it into the microwave fro a few seconds, about forty (40) on high should do the trick. Otherwise, a little experience is all you really need.
I like serving my fried chicken at room temperature, but that's up to you. Otherwise, dish this up with some black-eyed peas and some sautéed greens.
Where to start? As I mentioned earlier, this is a very basic recipe. The coating can be modified ad-nauseum as can just about everything else. You can also make a batter instead of just a simple coating or you can do the whole thing in the oven and eliminate the hot oil altogether, but those are recipes for another time.
For now, be content with this "beginners" version, there's always next year.
©2011 Wait At The Bar