Friday, August 16, 2013

A little south for your mouth!

I make fried chicken about once a DECADE, because it just seems like too much work--it takes two days to make and two days of washing greasy pans afterwards! Plus, it never seems to turn out well enough to justify all the fuss. But d*mn that Pioneer Woman, she made fried chicken on her show recently, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. So I gave it another whirl, and I must say, it was pretty darn good! I might even try it again as soon as 2014 (tee hee). I think the secrets are a buttermilk brine overnight, and sprinkling a little extra buttermilk in the breading mixture to make little clumps that fry up very crisp and help the coating to hold together and adhere to the chicken.

Even better than the fried chicken was the succotash that I made as a side dish. I wouldn't say that there was a precise recipe, but I heated a tablespoon each of olive oil and butter in a large skillet and sauteed a large diced onion, half a seeded and diced yellow pepper (red would have been prettier, though), and one Anaheim pepper (seeded and diced). Once these veggies were tender, I threw in a few cloves of minced garlic, a bag of frozen baby lima beans, the kernels from four small ears of fresh corn, and two cups of chicken stock. I cooked everything on medium low, stirring frequently, until the liquid was all absorbed, then I seasoned the succotash with salt and pepper (to taste), and added about a tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme. SO YUMMY! My roomie agreed, and she swears she hates lima beans. I made a convert of her!

The Pioneer Woman's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
(Source: adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cookbook: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl, via Steamy Kitchen)

2 cut-up fryer chickens
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tablespoon salt, plus more to sprinkle on at the end
1 tablespoon (or so) hot sauce
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt (I used steak seasoning)
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

canola or vegetable oil for frying

1. In a large bowl (or 2 freezer bags) combine the chicken with one quart buttermilk, salt, and hot sauce. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to fry, remove chicken from bowl and let sit on counter for 30 minutes to take the chill off.
2. Preheat oven to 350F. Stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup remaining buttermilk into the flour and use a fork to mix until little lumps form throughout.
3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat to 365F. Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing to adhere the breading. Add the chicken to the oil 3-4 pieces at a time. Cover pan and fry 5-7 minutes, checking to make sure chicken isn’t getting too brown. Turn, cover and cook additional 3-5 minutes more. Monitor temperature of oil to make sure chicken doesn’t burn. Keep in mind that the chicken will finish cooking in oven.
4. Place chicken on baking sheet and continue frying rest of chicken. When done, bake the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. (Tip: Fry the largest pieces first so that they can be cooking in the oven while you finish frying the smaller pieces--the wings probably won't need to go into the oven at all.)
5. Before serving, sprinkle each piece of chicken with a little kosher salt.

No comments: