Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fried Chicken

I finally had success with making fried chicken! I have several attempts at making it and they never seem to turn out. I tend to end up burning them, and they are extremely crunchy. And to top it all off there was never any flavor! 
But not this time! These little pieces of goodness came out perfect! 
They had the right amount of crunch, they were juicy, and the flavor was delicious. This recipe again comes from the Pioneer Woman. I had tried to make it a while ago, but I combined it with another recipe and it just didn't turn out at all. I tried to fry them the entire time and that just makes them too brown and too crunchy. Frying and then baking is the way to go!

Fried Chicken

2 cut-up fryer chicken
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk 
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup milk
Canola or vegetable oil for frying

Cover the chicken pieces with the quart of buttermilk and soak in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to fry the chicken, remove the bowl from th fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes, just to take the chill off.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 and mix up the breading:
Place the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, and cayenne (extra cayenne if you like heat) in a very large bowl. Stir together well.
In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and, with a pastry cutter or fork, gradually mix until there are little lumps throughout. This will adhere to the chicken and make for a crispier breading. If necessary, add a little more flour or milk to the bowl in order to make it slightly lumpy.
Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 365. Lower the heat slightly, if necessary, to keep the oil from getting hotter.
Working in batches thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing extra breading onto the chicken if necessary. Place the breaded pieces on a plate.
Add the chicken to the oil 3 or 4 pieces at a time. Make sure they aren't sticking together, then cover the pan and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken isn't getting too brown. Turn the pieces over, cover again, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more. All the while, monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken doesn't burn. Keep in mind that we'll finish cooking the chicken in the oven, and it will continue to brown.
Place the chicken on a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken. When all the chicken has been fried, bake the chicken for 15 minutes, to finish the cooking process. Sometimes I'll cut into the thicker part of one of the larger pieces, just to make sure the chicken is cooked through. If any pink (juice or meat) is visible, the chicken needs to continue cooking in the oven.

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