Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fried Chicken Recipes

There is nothing better than one of the great fried healthy chicken recipes. Or maybe I should say there is nothing better than great fried chicken. It's so good, crunchy and juicy all at the same time--and so satisfying. Where do you get yours? I like Popeyes or KFC. But have you ever tried to make it? In reality it's not too hard to make, as long as you have a good chicken recipe.

Frying chicken has been around a long time, there is evidence of it in China, Rome and Egypt. It's possible Scottish immigrants introduced it to the southern U.S., they had been deep frying in their own country. Until commercial establishments introduced fried chicken to the rest of the country it was a mainstay of southern cooking. It still has strong associations with the South.

Most great gourmet recipes are passed down through family generations, with some recipes being two hundred years old and older. I suppose most recipes out there are variations on these old recipes.

I'm not sure if I like homemade fried chicken better than from a restaurant. I know for a fact that it sure feels good to make a great tasting batch of this mouth watering fowl. And, some of the chicken places I go are kind of funky, so you never know what's going on in the back room... So it's probably safer to cook it at home.

Since I really like cooking I collect cookbooks and scour the internet for recipes, so I have a couple of great recipes. Unless you're a miracle worker, that is obviously the key to making great fried chicken--the recipe.

Tips for Perfect Fried Chicken:

1. Pick a bird that is no bigger than 3 1/2 pounds. Anything over this size really isn't meant to be fried. To me, a 3-pound bird is perfect.
2. To ensure the breasts don't overcook and become too dry, cut the double lobed breast into three. (Take note of the picture of the raw chicken above.)
3. In my opinion, wet brining does nothing for chicken but change the texture of the chicken to be more like ham. I am not a fan.
4. If you have a source for good chicken, why cover up the taste of a great bird with lots of unnecessary flavors?
5. To retain moisture, I use the Russ Parsons/Judy Rodgers method of dry brining as a guide and salt the chicken the night before, or at least 2 hours before frying.
6. You don't need a deep fryer to make great fried chicken. A high-sided Dutch oven or cast iron pot (not pan) is fine. Fill the bottom with peanut oil about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in depth. It should come up the sides of the pot no more than a third. When you add the chicken, the oil level will rise.
7. After you flour coat the chicken the second time, let the chicken rest on a rack for twenty minutes to form a crust before you fry it. This also allows the chicken to warm to room temperature which will help it to cook through. Use the time to finish any sides.
8. Your oven is your best friend here. Fried chicken is meant to rest before it is eaten. In turn, I don't worry too much about interior doneness because I always keep the chicken in a 250˚ F oven. I let it rest in there about twenty minutes, which allows time for it to finish cooking, remain crispy, and lets me finish any side dishes too.
9. Don't forget to fry up the giblets too -- I always throw in extras. Serve them with a side of wing sauce. You'll be happy you did.
10. Choose lots of sides that can be made ahead of time so when you go to fry the chicken, there is nothing else to think about.
11. Gluten-free flours such as Cup4Cup make for a crispier crust. If you are going to use wheat flour, add a 1/4 cup of cornstarch to the flour to crisp up the crust.
12. Take your time, don't short cut anything, and give the chicken lots of room. Enjoy yourself, frying chicken is fun!

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