Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I was watching the Next Food Network Star last night, a show my wife and I love, and some of the contestants had to make fried chicken. It made me think back to the fried chicken I cooked back in April… yes April, I am that negligent with my blog these days. Too many things on the go I guess. Well the chicken I made didn’t turn out as nice as that the Next Food Network Stars made but it was still a great learning experience in the kitchen.
The first thing that I needed to do was brine the chicken in buttermilk, seven cups of it. I think the only reason I even decided to cook this recipe was that fact that I had a carton of buttermilk that was approaching it’s expiration date. I had defrosted a whole chicken and then cut it up into 8 parts… it was supposed to be ten parts… I’ll get to that in a moment when it becomes somewhat humorous. The buttermilk brine contained salt, sugar, paprika, garlic and bay leaves all smashed together before being mixed with the buttermilk. The chicken pieces were then submerged and the bowl set in the fridge.
The chicken breast pieces were really large compared to the rest of the chicken and I was wondering why so I re-read the book. The breasts were supposed to be cut in half which would have provided two similar sized pieces to the rest of the batch. Now what should I do, since the chicken was brining in the fridge. I thought about it carefully and then realized the larger breasts probably wouldn’t deep fry well so I took out the bowl, reached into the brine and pulled out the dripping chicken pieces and sliced through them. Buttermilk brine was dripping everywhere, even though I tried my best to contain the mess. In my mind I was imagining little Salmonella bacterium colonizing every corner of my kitchen, ready to declare war on my family. So I put the four chicken breast pieces back in the brine and then scrubbed my kitchen counters.
Once the chicken had soaked in buttermilk long enough I removed it and prepared for the next phase of the operation. A dish of flour was prepared along with a mixture of baking powder, baking soda, egg and buttermilk for battering. I used my deep fryer instead of oil in a pan because it was cleaner and less risk to me. The chicken was deep fried until golden brown and then left drain on a paper towel lined plate before drying on a wire rack.
Rating: B. The skin was nice and crispy but the chicken as a whole was just a little too greasy. That said the kids loved it but they do tend to eat anything deep-fried. I don’t know if I would go through this whole mess again but I might adapt this to home-made chicken strips. I still have to try oven-fried chicken which might be better… I hope.