Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fried Chicken

Blurry photo of chicken and waffles, taken with my friend's IPhone.

Sometimes I do crazy things. Like invite a ton of people over to my house for chicken and waffles, thus causing me to spend an hour standing over a pan of boiling peanut oil. Yeah, crazy.

Last weekend, I had some people over for dinner. I had seen this recipe for pan-friend chicken in Cooking Light and, for whatever reason, I decided it would be a good idea for me to make that for dinner. It was good, but it took A LOT of work.

The Cooking Light recipe suggests putting the flour in a ziploc bag and shaking. I think this doesn't coat the chicken as well so even though it gives you dough fingers, I always hand coat in a bowl.

I also used Michelle Obama's fried chicken techniques. Ever since I worked on the book, I've always wanted to bust those out and then casually mention, "Oh yes. This is Michelle Obama's recipe." But it's actually just a pretty common technique. Flour the chicken once, then soak in milk (or buttermilk for a nice tang) then flour again. Her real secret, that I did not incorporate, involves crumbling Ritz crackers into your flour mixture. Perhaps we'll have to try that sometime.

Eat Rating: Delicous. The spices in the flour mix really kick it up a notch.
Difficulty: Hard. The peanut oil is finicky. Also it spits at you.

Adapted from Pan-Fried Chicken, Cooking Light Magazine, June 2009

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 bone-in chicken breast, skins removed
2 bone-in chicken thighs, skins removed
2 drumsticks, skins removed
2 cups milk or buttermilk
2 cups ice-water
1/2 cup peanut oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Place the ice water in a bowl and the milk in another bowl. Dunk a piece of chicken in the ice water, shake off and then drop in the flour bowl. Coat thoroughly. Drop in the milk mixture for a few seconds, then recoat in flour. Repeat with all the pieces of chicken. Don't throw away your flour mixture.

Place the chicken on a cookie sheet and cover with plastic. Refridgerate for 90 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil. You want the peanut oil to be 350 degrees. That's hot, but not spitting. If you have a thermometer, use it.

Line your cooling rack with brown paper bags. (If you use paper towel, they will make the coating soggy because they hold in the steam). I recommend using the ones you get from the grocery store. If you don't have those, you can use lunch bags, but make sure to add several layers.

Once the oil is hot, take a piece of chicken and coat it one last time in the flour. Then add to the hot oil. Cook for 25 minutes, turning the pieces every five minutes to ensure even cooking. Place cooked chicken on the brown paper to cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve immediately (over waffles, if you'd like).

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