A few years ago, on a lovely Saturday morning, I was indulging in my biggest addiction (The Food Network) and Tyler Florence came on. It really does not hurt that he is pretty easy on the eyes but MAN, he can also cook. I made it right away and we rounded some friends up for dinner that very night.
When I asked my father-in-law what he would like to have for his birthday dinner he mentioned fried chicken and I was happy to oblige.
I’ve played with the recipe since but it wouldn’t be right to fail to mention where it was originally from. Do yourself a favour and make an obscene amount of this chicken and either have 20 people over (like we did on Saturday) or freeze it and have it on those hot summer days when moving around is like treading water.
I was a little worried about eating this recipe again because I made it one day when I was pregnant and had to instantly get it OUT OF THE HOUSE. Those of you who have experienced morning/all day sickness will understand the urgency of getting some smells away from you as quickly as possible.
I’m happy to say that not only did I like it again but so did the baby.
1) One night take; three chickens and divide them up (you can use already jointed chicken pieces but whole chickens were on sale so that is what I used) into 10 pieces each (thighs, legs, wings, breasts in two pieces etc.). Place in a large pot with enough water to cover them and four tablespoons of salt. I actually just took the whole chickens from the freezer and immersed them in water and salt. Let sit overnight, covered, in the fridge.
2) The next day drain off the brine and place enough buttermilk to cover the chicken (note: I never have buttermilk so just sour regular milk with a T. of vinegar). I used (for my three chickens) 1 litre of soymilk (soured with a tablespoon of vinegar), 2 T. of hot sauce, 1 T. of juniper berries, 2 garlic cloves finely chopped and 2 stalks of rosemary. Let sit in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight. I did this overnight because it was a Friday and honestly, deep frying when you are tired is not something I would highly recommend.
I’ve added the note that I used soy milk as I realize I haven’t mentioned for quite some time that dairy and I don’t get along very well. I have Chron’s/colitis so I use soy, rice or goat’s milk products in all of my recipes and Earth balance margarine for anything needing butter. No one seems to complain.
3) Take regular flour and season with 2 T. rosemary, black pepper and 1 tsp. granulated garlic.
4) Get a cauldron of oil (I like to use canola) heating with a sprig of rosemary and a clove of garlic. It is hot enough to fry the chicken when you place a wooden spoon in the oil and it bubbles around it.
5) Grab a piece of the chicken and dip into the seasoned flour, dip it back into the buttermilk and then BACK into the flour. This double dipping method gives you an incredible coating.
6) Fry until just golden and drain on a tea towel. Don’t worry about the chicken actually being cooked.
7) Place on a baking tray and bake in a moderate oven (330) until crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
Great hot or cold and even great the day after. My photo isn’t great as “my helper” wanted to press the button.
I thought we would have lots of leftovers but gladly there were only a few pieces. We served everything with; spring vegetables in a vinaigrette, a big green salad, rolls and potato salad ( my sister-in-law makes the very best potato salad).
The night started the evening off with marinated cheese bites and tortilla chips with salsa and quacamole (thanks MIM!) and ended with mini chocolate cupcakes (that same great Olive Oil recipe) topped with whipping cream and cherries cooked with a bit of sugar, cornstarch and kirsch.
More than the food though…everyone got together and we laughed until we hurt. That’s what a birthday is all about.