Friday, February 8, 2013

Shallow Fried Chicken

December 30, 2012
Easier Fried Chicken
All-Purpose Cornbread
Garden Salad
Villa Chardonnay
Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Chocolate Soufflé

I hadn't cooked chicken in a while,  recent meals have all featured beef or pork. I was thinking this would be another opportunity to deep fry but I ended up choosing a shallow-frying recipe where the chicken is coated and then fried in a relatively small amount of oil. It is then placed in an oven to cook the chicken all the way through and to help crisp up the crust.

While not a simple recipe,  this chicken wasn't too hard to make. I purchased chicken thighs, legs, and boneless breasts (because that is what the store had.) I cut the whole breast apart along the seam between the two halves and I should have cut each half breast in half, too, though this was not a big problem. There are only two major steps in preparing the chicken. First, it is brined in buttermilk. Second, it is dredged in seasoned flour then fried in a small amount of peanut oil and finished in the oven.  The most challenging part of preparing the chicken was controlling the temperature of the oil while cooking multiple batches. I started cooking when the oil reached 375°. I checked the temperature after adding the first batch of chicken and it had dropped to around 320° so I turned up the burner temperature. The oil then got too hot for the second batch of chicken which was a little overcooked, so I turned the burner back down.  Much of the chicken was too dark, looking almost burnt. However, it tasted very good with a crispy, nicely seasoned coating and juicy, flavorful meat on the inside. Both the dark meat and white meat were tender and juicy.

Cornbread is my favorite side dish to have with chicken and I like to have it with butter and honey. I have used several different recipes and after doing some research I chose one which produces bread that is a cross between the the southern version or corn bread, which is light and savory, and the northern version, which is sweet and cakey. The bread came out flavorful with a nice crispy crust. However, even though a tooth pick came out clean, it was a little gummy in the middle. Looking back I think it was underdone as the top was not a uniform deep golden brown, but rather only the edges and some high spots had achieved this hue.

Finally I made a garden salad (or was it a green salad, I don't know the difference) with butter lettuce, parsley, carrot, cucumber, and tomato and enjoyed it with a dark seasonal beer. I prepared this dinner on the eve of surgery which kept me in the hospital for most of the next week. Diane and Caryn enjoyed having fried chicken available for their meals during the week. It has to be one of the most versatile of leftovers as you can eat it either warm or cold. Six weeks later and I am yet to get back into the kitchen to prepare a Sunday dinner, but I hope I'll be ready to do so soon.

 Easier Fried Chicken from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook
All-Purpose Cornbread from Cook's Illustrated Cookbook

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