02 Aug 2011 Fried Chicken

Frying chicken wasn’t just another hedonistic pursuit you know.  I had a good reason.  A very good reason.  My friends and I have started an M&M group.  LOL!  I crack myself up. A Movie & Meal group. We are going to go to movies together and after the movie dine on food inspired by the movie.  We SO know how to have a good time!  BUT…, our first movie pick is “The Help”.  Now how could we have a “The Help” movie meal without fried chicken?   I HAD to start frying chicken.  Had to.

I didn’t expect to end up making the best fried chicken on the planet though.  Truth be told, I haven’t eaten much fried chicken in my  life.  I’ve had the occasional KFC, once or twice a decade, perhaps.  Never been to Popeye’s.  Had a few pieces from Safeway’s deli when my son was in middle school. There are no southern cooks in my family, so I have had no home fried chicken. Until now.  So perhaps I am not the most qualified person to declare this chicken “the best fried chicken on the planet”, but it is certainly the best fried chicken on MY planet.

This recipe came from Epicurious in 1998 and it’s called “Deviled Fried Chicken”. The chicken needs to marinate a day or two before frying, so plan ahead. I reduced the chili powder quite a bit, and it still has a bit of a bite.  The original recipe called for 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper.  YIKES.  The first batch I fried up was hunks of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  The next time I had a hankering for some bones,  so I fried up a mess of drumsticks.  Drumsticks were harder.  They had to be finished off in the oven.  For “The Help” party, I am going back to big juicy hunks of chicken breast.

I have to tell you the rest of our menu for “The Help” dinner!  It’s going to be goooood!  Cucumber Sandwiches and Deviled Eggs for appetizers, Crab Bisque for the soup. Fried Chicken and a Pineapple Ham for the main dishes.  Southern Biscuits (we tested several recipes), Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Collard Greens or Green Beans, and a Jell-O salad (a MUST have!) for side dishes.  Caramel Cake (we tested several recipes) and Chocolate Cream Pie (with no off-putting ingredients) for dessert.  Lots of Sweet Tea, too. I’ll wear my “pearls”, of course.  One of my friends is getting out her cinch waist dress.  Another has her gloves ready.  I hope there are a few hats, too!

Fried Chicken

2 cups buttermilk (the non-fat stuff won’t work)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons garlic powder (divided use)
5 teaspoons salt (divided use)
2 teaspoons dry mustard (divided use)
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (divided use)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper (divided use)
4 or 5 chicken breasts, cut into 8-10 pieces, skinned or about a dozen drumsticks, or one frying chicken cut into 8 pieces.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

5 cups (or more) oil, for frying (recipe suggested peanut oil, but vegetable oil and canola oil will work, too)

In 1-gallon resealable plastic bag, mix buttermilk, Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 1 teaspoon cayenne and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

Add chicken pieces. Seal bag, eliminating air. Turn bag to coat chicken evenly. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 2 days, turning plastic bag occasionally.

A bit more than one hour before you want to start to fry chicken…whisk flour, baking powder, garlic powder, remaining 1 tablespoon onion powder, 4 teaspoons salt, 3 teaspoons dry mustard, 1 teaspoon1 cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper in 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass dish. With marinade still clinging to chicken pieces (do not shake off excess), add chicken to flour mixture; turn to coat thickly.

Let chicken stand in flour mixture for 1 hour, turning chicken occasionally to recoat with flour mixture.  (The chicken will look ugly at this point,. The flour mixture should cling thickly to the chicken.)

Pour oil to depth of 1 1/4 inches into deep 10- to 11-inch-diameter pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer. Heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F.

Add 4 pieces of chicken to oil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and fry 5 minutes, adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature between 280°F and 300°F (oil should bubble constantly around chicken).

Turn chicken over. Fry 7 more minutes. Turn chicken over again. Fry until deep golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes longer. (I think I had my oil too hot, because my chicken was getting too dark, so when the chicken was the right color, I put it on a wire rack over a cookie sheet and baked in preheated 250 degree oven for approx. 20 minutes to thoroughly cook the drumsticks.  I had no problem with the boneless chicken breasts.)

Reheat oil to 350°F. Repeat frying with remaining 4 pieces of chicken.

Serve chicken warm or at room temperature (within 2 hours), or chill up to 1 day and serve cold.

Reheating has been a bit of an issue. My son has reheated pieces in the microwave, but this does not result in the coating getting re-crispy.  I have reheated pieces in 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, and the coating gets almost recrisped.  Two day old fried chicken reheated in the oven is STILL better than Safeway’s fresh from the deli counter!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  It’s always a pleasure.  Maybe you will have your own Southern dinner after finishing “The Help”, either the book version or the movie version, or maybe you will just fry chicken for the hedonistic thrill of it!  Either way, I hope you try this recipe.  It’s a keeper!

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3 Responses
  1. Sharon says:

    Ummm, I can almost hear it frying and smell the deliciousness! Would love to order up a batch to take to the picnic at Shakespeare Santa Cruz!

  2. Mary says:

    What a great idea, a movie and an inspired dinner! The chicken looks SO good – lovely flavors. Can’t wait to see The Help – LOVED the book 🙂
    Mary

  3. […] found the perfect fried chicken recipe at In The Kitchen with Polly. In The Kitchen with Polly is her mother’s cooking blog.  I pulled out my large pasta pot […]

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