National Fried Chicken Day

Geez there’s a day for everything.  Time to celebrate National Fried Chicken Day.

How about an easier fried chicken recipe that doesn’t require a big vat of oil?

This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen (includes instructional video):

Photo from America’s Test Kitchen

Easier Fried Chicken

  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • Table salt
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts (breasts, thighs, and drumsticks, or a mix, with breasts cut in half), trimmed of excess fat (see note)
  • 2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 3/4cups vegetable oil
  1. Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon salt, hot sauce, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and pinch of cayenne together in large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and remaining 2 teaspoons black pepper, ¾ teaspoon garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl. Add remaining ¼ cup buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.
  3. Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat to 375 degrees. Carefully place chicken pieces in pan, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and continue to cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake chicken until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees for breasts and 175 for legs and thighs, 15 to 20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach -correct temperature.) Let chicken rest 5 minutes before serving.

If the video link above has expired, try this one:  Easier Fried Chicken, America’s Test Kitchen

Cold Soups: Cucumber and Tomato

Originally published August 2010

As the last hot days of summer descend, thought another cold soup would be nice.  Off to the movies and lunch.  Oh, yeah and then to the farm stand for ingredients! The fun of this soup is you mix the two colors separately and then swirl them together in individual bowls. Let your artist loose.

Cucumber and Tomato Cold Soup

  • ½ bunch cilantro*
  • ¼ onion
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 5 large cucumbers, peeled, halved and seeded
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 large tomato, quartered
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro for garnish

Large serving bowl, blender/food processor

Place all ingredients but jalapeno and tomato into food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour into serving bowl. Next blend together tomato and jalapeno. Pour into the center top of cucumber mixture and swirl outward with a knife, to create a decorative effect. Serve with cilantro for garnish.

* if you hate cilantro, omit, substitute parsley or some chives.

Crispy (and spicy) Chicken Breast Sandwiches

The other day on another blog, someone mentioned making chicken patties. There were some questions about the recipe, so I went and took a look. It sounded great and I thought, I should make that. But when I went to make it, remembered it called for ground, cooked chicken and thought, eh, too much work. I prefer a chicken breast cutlet with a crisp, spicy crust, anyway. So I decided to play with ingredients to come  up with something that made me feel guilty eating it. All spicy and crispy. This what I came up with:

Crispy Chicken Breast Sandwiches

  • 4 large boneless-skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup dill pickle juice
  • 1 egg (if you’re going to bake, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to egg)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • Olive oil

Spice Mix

  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tsp of celery seeds
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp of paprika

Sandwich Fixin’s

  • 8 crusty sesame sandwich rolls
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce
  • Dill pickle (or for extra spice, jalapenos – my choice)

skillet

Fillet breasts to make two thin fillets from each breast and then soak in pickle juice for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to buttermilk and let marinate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together panko, bread crumbs and spice mix. Beat egg.

Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, dip in egg and then dredge in breadcrumb mixture, coating well. Fry in skillet with 1-2 tbsp of oil, turning until golden brown on both sides. Or alternately, bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. (I covered it for the first 10-15 minutes to keep it moist, then uncovered to get it crispy).

Serve with sandwich fixin’s.

Cooked fillets can be frozen and reheated in the oven at 450 degrees until heated through.

Batter-Fried Chicken: Updated

Update: It took me a while, but I found the video archive of the show if you want a step-by-step on the chicken.

Cooks Country Episode: 304/2009

Worked from home a few days ago and caught an old episode of America’s Test Kitchen. They tested out different batter fried chicken and this one was deemed the best. Thought I would share. I changed up the soaking method because we were discussing uses for leftover buttermilk last night and I recommended soaking chicken in it.

Batter-Fried Chicken

Halve breasts crosswise and separate leg quarters into thighs and drumsticks. and soak in the brine. You want all pieces to be similar in size so they fry evenly. Best results when using a dutch oven and thermometer.

Buttermilk Mixture

  • 1 quart cold buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 4-5lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken, legs, thighs and breasts

Whisk water, salt, and sugar in large bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Add chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.

Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 5 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust if you don’t like as spicy)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups cold water
  • 3 quarts peanut or vegetable oil

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl, add water and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate batter, covered, while chicken is brining.

Heat oil to 350 degrees and keep the temperature between 300 and 325 degrees during frying process. Cook 4 pieces of the chicken until golden brown and white meat registers 160 degrees (170 degrees for dark meat), 12 to 15 minutes. Drain chicken on wire rack. Bring oil back to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining chicken.

Note: The batter is very thin, but cooks up to a nice crisp crust, partly due to the baking powder and water.

Here is the original Brine recipe:

Brine

  • 1 quart cold water
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Fresh Ricotta

Yesterday I went Googling around looking for good ideas for using the onion jam and clicked on a smittenkitchen link.  It’s always a good idea to take a look at whatever she puts up over there.  She was using some onion jam on a pizza, along with home made ricotta and some prosciutto.  Hmm…homemade ricotta.  It looked easy enough.  We were going out Saturday morning anyway, so we made sure to buy the whole milk and some buttermilk the ricotta recipes were calling for.

Add 2 cups of buttermilk to 2 quarts of whole milk in a heavy sauce pot.  Turn the heat up high and scrape the bottom to prevent scorching.

Keep at it until the temp reaches 175 degrees, you will want to use a thermometer of some sort.  Candy making thermometer works fine.

When you hit 175, turn off the burner and quit stirring for 5 minutes so the curds can assemble themselves on the top.

Dip the curds out with a slotted spoon, skimmer, or some other utensil.

Dump the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander or strainer so the water (whey) can drain.  Give it 15 minutes or so.

Then gather the edges of the cheesecloth with a rubber band and use a skewer or something to let it hang over the sink or a bowl.  Anything to catch the liquid as it drains out. Discard the liquid, don’t squeeze the cheesecloth to hurry it.

After an hour or so it should be looking like this.  Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Biscuits for Dinner

With soups and stews on the menu this week at my house, biscuits were needed.  These are Buttermilk Biscuits with a side of the homemade Apple Butter.

Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp powdered buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter to brush on formed biscuits

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients, make a center hole in the dry ingredients and cut in shortening and add  milk.  Blend together, then knead 10-12 strokes on a floured surface, roll out to ½” thick, cut into 8-10 biscuits.  Place on baking sheet or my favorite,  a cast-iron skillet (I have to use both my 10 inch and 8 inch – a 12 inch would easily hold all 10).

Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pot Pie

Well, supposedly it is Fall now…though we will see near 90 degree temperatures today.  I can only blame myself, I rearranged my closet this past weekend, bringing all my fall and winter things out.  Tempting fate, like washing your car on a sunny day ensures rain.

But I’m certain, eventually, we will have a chill in the air and when we do, it will be the perfect time for this recipe.  A true comfort food and easy to put together.  A complete meal in one pan.

Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuit Pot Pie

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes, scrubbed and diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup peas

Buttermilk Biscuits:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp powdered buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp melted butter to brush on formed biscuits

Mix dry ingredients, make a center hole in the dry ingredients and add in shortening and milk.  Blend together, then knead 10-12 strokes on a floured surface, roll out to ½” thick, cut into 8-10 biscuits.

Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat

In a large bowl, combine the chicken thighs with salt, pepper and olive oil. Sear chicken in pan, stirring occasionally, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside in a separate bowl. Add butter to the pan and, when melted, add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the stock, browned chicken, potatoes, and spices.

Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat so that the sauce just simmers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and potatoes are tender…about 25-35 minutes.

While it simmers, prepare Buttermilk Biscuits.

Fold peas into chicken mixture and then remove the pan from the heat.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Place the biscuits on top of the chicken and gravy, with 6 biscuits around the edge of the pan and the remaining 4 biscuits in the center (if you have a left over biscuit or two, bake on a separate baking sheet). Be sure the biscuits do not touch, so they cook thoroughly. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and flaky..14 to 15 minutes. Allow the pot pie to cool briefly before serving. Makes 4-6 servings.

Mmm…hush puppies

Mrs J called for fried fish for dinner today.  We  consider certain sides to be “must haves”  for a fish fry:  Slaw, baked beans, and hush puppies.  Occasionally there will be a substitution or an addition-French fries come to mind.

For years I used a box mix for my hush puppies, I would add some minced peppers and onions, maybe, and count myself as “really cooking now”.  LOL  Making them from scratch is fairly easy.  The recipe I used today could have been halved, we have plenty of leftovers.

1 c flour

1 c corn flour

1 c corn meal

2 T sugar

2 eggs

~1/8 c bacon grease

1 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1 t salt

1 c buttermilk

And you can stop there for the basic hush puppy recipe.  Drop ~1T of the batter into oil heated to about 325 and let it brown-I used a small cookie dough scoop, worked great.  Here the usual instructions add:  turn it over after a couple of minutes to cook the other side.  Hah! You might be able to get one to turn over and stay one time out of ten.  I still try, don’t know why.  I guess it’s that one time in ten.  How long does it take  to cook them?  That will depend on the size of the portion, the temperature of the oil, the number of pups you are trying to do at once, and maybe humidity and how the dog feels about the cat.  Just let one get nice and brown and take it out, cut it in two and look at the middle.  Go from there.

Of course I didn’t stop at just plain hush puppies.  I minced 2 jalapenos, 1/4 c of yellow onion, about 1/4 c of various colored bell peppers, and a good handful of green onions.  Oh, and whole corn, from a can.  You can use creamed corn if you want.  I used about 3/4 of a can.  Be aware that liquid additions may require additional amounts of meal and/or flour to keep the batter stiff enough to scoop.

Enjoy!

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