Tag Archives: fried chicken

Fried Chicken… because it’s pure awesomeness

chicken coolingI have always loved fried chicken but when it came to making it at home it seemed like too big a hassle, too messy, too hard, always undercooked or underseasoned or burnt to a crisp to cook it through. Since I’m not a fan of following rules or recipes I would just bumble my way through and nearly always end up with a plate of disappointing chicken and a kitchen that looked (and smelled) like a war zone. But as usual my craving for fried chicken was outweighing my loosey goosey cooking style. So I tried following some recipes and picked the things I liked from some and added some of my own ways and I think I’ve come up with a relatively easy, don’t ruin your kitchen, take 2 days brining and end up with a plate of dark brown raw chicken to serve to your family…. not that I’ve ever done that.

I find that cooking up one whole chicken for my family of four is enough for dinner but everyone wants leftovers for lunches and after school snacking. So last time I did a chicken and a cornish game hen, let’s just say everything was gone in 24 hours. This recipe will be enough for 2 chickens.

Fried Chicken

  • 1-2 whole chickens, cut into legs, thighs, wings and 2 boneless breasts cut into 4 pieces (sometimes I pull the tenders off before cutting) and save your carcass in the freezer for broth later. If you don’t feel comfortable butchering a whole chicken buy one cut at the market and then cut the breast portions in half.
  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • enough oil for frying preferably peanut oil (at least 1 quart, usually more depending on the size of your pan) last time I used a combo of peanut, canola and bacon drippings, because why not?
  • flour for dredging (approx. 1 cup)
  • salt and pepper

Fried Chicken coating:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbls. salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Take your chicken out of the fridge a couple hours before starting, it won’t kill you…. but starting with warmer chicken means less chance of ending with raw chicken. Cut your bird if you got whole chickens and lay the pieces out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Pat the tops of the chicken dry. Salt and pepper the pieces.chicken rawGet out your heaviest bottomed pot, I use an All Clad soup pot. Pour in enough oil to give you 3″- 4″ at the bottom and turn heat to medium high.

While waiting for your oil to come to temp sprinkle a cup of flour over your chicken pieces.

Get out two large bowls. Fill one with the buttermilk and one with the fried chicken coating ingredients and stir them to combine.

Get out another cookie sheet or platters and working in batches of 3-4 pieces roll your chicken through the flour you’ve sprinkled over them (this saves you another bowl cleaning if you keep it on the cookie sheet) then into the buttermilk and then smash the pieces one at a time through the coating mix, really work in on the pieces because the more coating you get on there the crunchier it will be, rap pieces on the side of the bowl to get off excess flour and place chicken pieces on clean cookie sheet.

chicken dredgedCheck the temp of your oil, you want it to be at 375 to start and for your temp to hold at 350. Lower temps will result in greasy chicken.

When your oil is up to temp place enough chicken in the bottom to fill the pot but not crowd it… and here’s the part that I think is really weird but has so far kept me from serving raw chicken… you cover the pot. You might think, like me… cover the pot on hot oil, what if all that moisture off the pot lid falls in the oil and splashes and explodes oil all over my kitchen? Well it doesn’t for some odd reason but what it does do is keep your oil around the 350 degree mark which is what you want. Set your timer for 6 minutes, uncover carefully lifting the lid up and away from the pot. Turn your chicken with tongs and cook for another 6 minutes uncovered.

chicken fryingRemove your chicken and drain on paper then place on a rack while you fry up the next batch. 2 chickens take me three batches of frying. I usually make it through the second of the batch of frying before the family starts circling like vultures and I have to slap them away, so I end up serving the chicken while I fry up the last batch for all the leftovers. Some get eaten later that night as people roam into the kitchen, some are snatched for breakfast the next day and some end up being taken for lunch but there is never any left by the 24 hour mark.

chicken plated

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Fried Chicken Salad… it means I’ve been eating nothing but crap for days while I get this design job done and I need some greens and the kids need to eat something they won’t bitch about

So I was busy on a job site, huffing spray adhesive and other nastiness for days, doing lots of dirty and smelly work while in body contortionist style postures all the while shoving pizza, burgers, and whatever crap I could shove in my face quickly and get back to it. It was day four, I was crabby and tired, the kids were crabby and tired of me being gone all the time (which needless to say lead to the equally tired and crabby spouse). I pulled my dragging ass to the market on the way home with just one goal, I needed a big salad… really big, like chain restaurant big with lots of greens and crunchy things to make me feel like I wasn’t going to die tomorrow, although I might have looked like it at the market being caked in spray adhesive, random strips of fabric, staples and sheet rock dust. The main problem was the kids weren’t going to be happy with any part of this salad thing and I really wanted a family sit down dinner so we could just come back down to the planet as a family and have time to re-connect. I know they’ll eat chicken strips if I make them so let’s throw some chicken on that salad too and the kids can have chicken strips and I can add some chicken to my salad, so win win.

Fried Chicken Salad with Ranch Dressing (serves 4)

  • 2-3 organic chicken breasts, pounded between plastic wrap until flat at the thick end
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4-6 slice of bread for crumbs (whiz em up in the Cuisinart or use panko bread crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • tsp salt and dash of pepper
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, pulled apart, washed and dried
  • 1 european cucumber sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 carrot peeled and sliced or 10 baby carrots toothpick cut
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves pulled apart

I usually like to pull out my chicken at least 2 hours ahead and let it temper a bit so you get a more evenly cooked breast and it doesn’t become so dry… but I am also using locally raised small farm chicken and I am not a worry wart about bacteria or anything else.

Cut lower and thinner ends of breast off (about half the thinner side of the breast) this will be for your salad. Then cut the thicker part of the breast into nugget sized pieces (for the kids).

Get 3 bowls out..

flour, salt and pepper in bowl 1

mixed egg in 2

bread crumbs, grated parm and salt and pepper in 3.

Like all other breaded items, keep one hand “wet” and one hand “dry” and you will avoid the dreaded breaded fingers.

Put oil in a medium sized frying pan and turn on medium.

dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and shake of excess, follow with the egg, and finish with the breadcrumbs and then into the heated oil. Fry the chicken in batches, turning with tongs to brown both sides and set on paper towels to rest while frying the rest (I do the salad ones first so they are not too hot on top the salad).

While chicken is frying (if your organized) or after (if your not… and really it should rest a bit anyway so your kids don’t burn their mouths because they will shove these little chicken nuggets in their maws as fast as they can because you took so damn long getting them made and they’re hungry and I haven’t met a kid yet who didn’t love real home made nuggets) Make up the veggie base for your salad. Top with slices of your fried chicken and dress with whatever dressing you like… I’m a big fan of blue cheese but as everyone else in my family nearly hurls when I even say the words so I just serve mine with ranch dressing… recipe at the end. I serve the kids nuggets with ketchup faces on their plates and side dishes of baby carrots because even they need some veggies!

Ranch Dressing… shhh it’s my secret

I don’t really like bottled dressings and I really don’t like ranch bottled dressings but I really do like Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix, I know it’s cheating but I do it anyway… just with a little guilt. So the way I do it is to doctor up that ranch mix a bit and on the plus side it will last for weeks in your fridge.

  • 1 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1/2 lemon juiced added if you don’t have buttermilk)
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 package Ranch mix
  • chopped herbs, parsley, chives, scallions or cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic chopped fine
  • a good amount of freshly ground pepper

mix it up and go to town, you probably won’t even have to admit it to your friends until they ask you for the recipe (not that that’s ever happened to me)… it makes a great dressing for cole slaw too, just add cider vinegar to it.