After writing yesterday’s fried chicken round-up, you have one guess what I made for dinner.
That’s right: beef stew.
No, seriously, obviously, I made fried chicken. And while my fried chicken – to be fair, I should say my dad’s fried chicken – is a very different beast than any of the chicken I wrote about in glowing (and not-so-glowing) terms yesterday, it is its own monster of deliciousness. Here’s how I make Yankee white-girl fried chicken for those who are allergic to yeast. You see, this recipe was borne out of my dad’s need to continue feeding our family some form of fried chicken meats after the diagnosis of my mom’s serious yeast allergy. When I was a kid, our fried chicken cutlets were battered in bread crumbs (did I mention Yankee white-girl? well, the bread crumbs were Progresso. add “Italian” to the list), and when it was declared that my mom could no longer eat yeast, my dad had to come up with a substitute. His rather ingenious decision was to use mashed-up cornflakes as the base of the coating, and he (and by extension I) have made fried chicken that way ever since.
For the coating, you’ll need:
Black pepper (I like McCormick Coarse Ground)
Minced onion/onion flakes (This is dried, and comes in a jar. You cannot, as my boyfriend suggested, “Just buy an onion, and you can … fucking mince it!” You can sub onion powder if you can’t find minced onion at the store.)
Get a ziploc bag. Combine cornflakes, kosher salt, coarse-ground black pepper, dried rosemary, garlic power, and minced onion/onion powder. Close the bag and press out most of the air. Now pound on the bag. Pound on the bag like it’s that guy who picked on you in school. Pound on it like it’s your jerk ex.
You can also use a rolling pin.
When the mixture is at the level of broken that you think would be tastiest – I like to leave some largeish flakes for purposes of extra crunch – you can go ahead and prepare your chicken parts. I personally like drumsticks for fried chicken, and I like to drop the egg-battered parts right into the bag and give it a good shake. Move the parts around. Make sure they have a good distribution of flakes to spices. Then drop them into the oil.
This is what you did with the oil to make it ready for the chicken. You took a large, deep pot and filled it with sufficient olive oil – fuck you, Southerners, it’s how I do it and it’s delicious and less likely to kill me – to fully submerge your chicken pieces. You’ve placed that semi-ludicrous quantity of oil over medium-high heat, and you’ve periodically tested whether it’s hot enough by sprinkling tiny pinches of batter into the oil and seeing what happens. When the batter sizzles and kicks up lots of little bubbles, you’re ready. Getting the oil hot enough, given the amount of chicken I was making and the depth of oil that required and the heaviness of the pot I was using, took me 20 – 25 minutes.
When the oil is hot enough, place your chicken parts into the oil. If you’ve succeeded in making the oil hot enough your chicken parts will proceed to go ballistic with ferocious bubbling. Now leave them alone. The only exception is if bits of certain pieces are above the oil line; those you can turn once.
I made six drums. It took about 15 – 17 minutes in the hot oil for them to be done. (You know they’re done when you cut into one down to the bone and it doesn’t juice or bleed oddly.) And dudes, they were perfect. So crispy. So crunchy. Not overly greasy. Like I said, it’s a different animal than you’ll get at chicken joints in the city. The texture is different and the spice profile is different and really, it’s all different. But it’s so, so good. My boyfriend said that he wasn’t “on fried chicken’s nuts,” like I am, but that this was “some of the best fried chicken he’s ever had.”
So make it.