We chose to make some fried chicken for Easter because we never, ever eat or make fried chicken. It's just not that appealing to pour 4 quarts of oil into a pot. I can almost feel my thighs getting bigger as I listen to the glub glub glub of the oil leaving the plastic container. If someone else made fried chicken (or fried anything) for me, I would gratefully accept and wolf down a couple pieces because I'm more removed from the process. However, making it myself is a different ballgame. Paul has been itching to deep fry something for a long time and since I would not let him deep fry our turkey at Thanksgiving, he had his chance when it came to the chicken for our Easter dinner.
|Nothing sexier than a man in an apron.|
We chose to use the Batter-Fried Chicken recipe from Cook's Country as our starting point. We seasoned the batter differently because we didn't care for the seasonings they used in the original recipe. We've been really hating paprika lately - don't ask us why! Basically, you first brine our chicken for an hour. During that hour, you make up a really thin batter of cornstarch and water. The batter was the consistency of a crepe batter and it made Paul nervous. After the brining period, the chicken pieces are removed, patted dry, and placed in the batter. The gigantic pot of oil is preheated to 350 degrees exactly - carefully monitored through the use of a heavy duty candy thermometer - and the chicken is then added and allowed to fry away for a good 12-15 minutes. Once the first batch is cooked, it is placed in a preheated 200 degree oven to remain warm and crisp up just a bit more while the rest of the chicken is cooked. Seriously, this was easy peasy!
The best part about using a candy thermometer to monitor the oil temperature? We avoided splattering. Because the oil was always around the optimal temperature for frying, we did not have to dodge spurts of oil haphazardly shooting out of the pot. I actually boast a couple scars on my arm from earlier in our marriage when we tried to fry something without the proper knowledge and equipment. This might also have something to do with why I never fry anything! However, using a really good thermometer to keep an eye on the oil temperature is a huge lifesaver. That and we also finally invested in a grease splatter shield.
|Emma was already digging in at this point. She could not be troubled to turn around for the picture!|
The chicken turned out so well! We loved it, the kids loved it, and it went pretty perfectly with the potato salad we made (I'll post that recipe soon!). If you're going to make fried chicken, the recipe better be good - and this one was awesome. It made a delightful crust on the chicken that was perfectly crispy, not too thick, and seasoned to perfection. Paul actually ended up frying off cakes of just the batter after the meal was over because he loved how much the breading tasted. I balked at this and told him he wasn't allowed to eat it. I want him around for a little while longer.
It might not look pretty, but if you're craving some delicious fried chicken, this recipe is pretty hard to beat!
adapted from Cook's Country
For the Brine:
1 quart cold water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
For the Batter:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
5 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups cold water
3 quarts vegetable or peanut oil
To make the brine, whisk the quart of cold water, salt, and sugar in large bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Add chicken and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the batter, whisk the water, flour, cornstarch, pepper, paprika, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in large bowl until smooth. Refrigerate batter while the chicken finishes brining.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. A heavy duty candy thermometer, preferably one that can be attached securely to the pot, is highly recommended. As the oil comes to temperature, remove the chicken from refrigerator, pour off brine, and pat dry with paper towels.
Re-whisk the batter and transfer half of the chicken to batter. One by one, remove chicken from batter (allowing excess to drip back into bowl) and transfer to the prepared oil. Fry chicken, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until deep golden brown. White meat pieces should register 160 degrees and dark meat pieces should register 170 degrees. This will take about 12-15 minutes.
While the chicken is frying, preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Drain chicken on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven to keep warm while the second batch of chicken is fried. Bring the oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.