Monday, August 10, 2009
Fried Chicken Fears - Extinguished
I have a confession to make. This normally fearless girl in the kitchen has been freaking out about making fried chicken. I chose a southern theme for my Dinner Divas dinner group this month and thought it would be fun to tackle fried chicken. Fun idea but it really scared me. I actually had dreams about it. I kept visualizing myself starting a fire. I've never dealt with that much hot oil before and I all I could do was picture the worst. I woke up early Saturday morning to clean the house and prepare for the dinner. I stalled for as long as I could until I realized I only had an hour before the girls would arrive. I took out my le creuset but then I thought it wasn't deep enough and pictured the oil boiling over. I decided to use the largest, deepest pot I had, my All Clad pasta pot (I know, I'm a kitchen label whore).
I had two containers of peanut oil (waaay too exepensive by the way) and that didn't even fill up the pot halfway, so I added in canola oil until the oil was about halfway up the pot. That was a lot of oil and it took a long time to come to temperature! Good thing my buddies over at bakespace recommended a deep frying thermometer or I would have been in big trouble. Ever put a piece of meat or veggies into a pan of oil that's not hot enough? Yuck! The meat will absorb all the oil and you'll end up with a greasy, soggy, mess. I followed the directions on the recipe exactly and was thrilled with the result. The chicken was perfectly moist and crisp! I was soo excited about it! I don't have to be afraid of deep frying ever again! I'll be honest though, I won't be in a rush to do it again because not only is it fattening but two days later and my house still smells like a fast food joint.
Here's the recipe that I used. Paula uses 1 whole cup of hot sauce. That seemed a bit excessive so I used about half that. Turns out I couldn't taste the spice at all. A friend said that since it was being deep fried it wouldn't really be that spicy if I used it all. So next time I'll add more. This recipe is guaranteed not to fail you, so if you ever get up the nerve to deep fry some chicken this is the recipe to try!
Paula Deen's Southern Fried Chicken
6 to 8 servings
1 cup hot red pepper sauce
2 cups self-rising flour
2 1/2 pound chicken, cut into pieces
House Seasoning, recipe follows
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange (about 1 cup). Season the chicken with the House Seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour. Place the chicken in the preheated oil and fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer than white meat. Approximate cooking time is 13 to 14 minutes for dark meat and 8 to 10 minutes for white meat.
1 cup salt
1/4 cup pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
To make the House Seasoning, mix the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
Tip - Have a cookie sheet lined with a supermarket paper bag and a cooling rack ready to go. As you remove the chicken place it on the rack so it stays crispy but the excess oil is removed. The brown bag is for clean up, it makes your pan easy to wash, no greasy mess to deal with.
Do not throw oil down your drain, you husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, whoever will KILL you! Seriously, it will clog the drain. I was wondering how I was going to get rid of this oil and I had one of those lightbulb moments. You know the ones where you feel really stupid that it took you so long to figure out. I just used the empty oil containers. A funnel would be really handy for that. If you don't have empty bottles just use a coffee can. Make sure you wait for the oil to cool!!!