Monday, 9 January 2012

Southern Fried Chicken

Southern Fried Chicken
Southern Fried Chicken with Celeriac, Carrot and
Edamame beans coleslaw
Chicken marinated overnight in a
buttermilk bath
 
Coat in seasoned flour...... 
......before shallow  frying in a large
frying pan......
......and finish off cooking in the oven


Contrary to what my friends believes, I do eat food like fried chicken and burger every now and then. Just because I do not frequent certain popular fast food chain does not mean that every now and then I do not have the urge to indulge myself with some comforting fried chicken. However, I always prefer to make my own simply because I'll know where the meat comes from and what goes onto the production of such treats. Saying that, I do occasionally, on some desperation moment and a moment of weakness, find myself wandering into a fast food joint and comes out with a box  or worse, bucket full of fried chicken. However, I firmly believe that a homemade version definitely triumph in terms of flavour and taste. This is also much more healthy as I  shallow fried the chicken first and then finishing off the cooking in the oven thereby rendering all the excess fat before serving. This also ensured that the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
The trick to a tender chicken lies in the secret of a buttermilk bath and the chicken pieces has to be submerged in buttermilk overnight, preferably at least for 24 hours prior to cooking them. Next up is the correct mix for the seasoned flour. Old bay seasoning and creole seasoning are absolutely vital along with herbs like tarragon and dill. Old bay seasoning can be quite hard to get hold of in the UK but you can get it from the USA Food Store in London's Notting hill. They are also available on their website and they do home delivery.  Old bay seasoning is also quite crucial in the making of Chesapeake bay crab cakes, which I will write about on a later date. It is also delicious sprinkled over potatoes before roasting for a new twist. 
If you were ever to crave for some truly aromatic, delicious and crunchy-crusted fried chicken, give this recipe a try. I promised you will never go back to the dreaded fast food joint again.
I have served this with a  celeriac, carrot and edamame beans coleslaw but any simple salad will do just fine.


Recipe:
(Serves 4)

12 pieces of chicken, thighs and legs (allow 3 pieces per person)
3 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
1l sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying


For the buttermilk marinate:
500ml buttermilk
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, skin on and gently crushed 
1 bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the seasoned flour:
250g plain flour, sifted
3 tbsp creole seasoning
3 tbsp old bay seasoning
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp dried garlic granules
2 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper




Combine all the ingredients for the buttermilk marinate in a bowl large enough to hold all the chicken. Seasoned with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and cover with cling film. Refrigerate overnight.


In another bowl, add all the ingredients for the seasoned flour and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk bath and pat dry with kitchen paper, dip into the beaten eggs and then into the seasoned flour to coat thoroughly. Shake off any excess and set aside. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.


Pre-heat the oven to 190°C. Heat up the oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan. The oil should be about 2 inches deep. When the oil is smoking, add the chicken pieces carefully in batches and fry for about 2-3 minutes until slightly golden brown, turn over and fry for another 2-3 minutes on the other side. Make sure the oil is not too hot or it will brown too quickly. Remove and place in a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and crispy golden on the outside. Check by cutting into the chicken, the juices should runs clear.  Drain on a kitchen paper and serve with a simple salad. 


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