Colonel Sanders must be the most popular American, next to Uncle Sam. His name is a byword worldwide. His face is in every street corner. Millions of people are addicted to his world renowned fried chicken.
When Kentucky Fried Chicken was introduced in the Philippines, it was an instant hit. Back then, the joint was a proper restaurant. The fried chicken was served on oval dishes, not in a bucket. It was certaintly more civilized then.
I love KFC and won't change anything about it. Yet it is something that I wouldn't eat often.
I don't think I have ever met anyone who doesn't like fried chicken. Everyone likes eating it; cooking it, not so much. I hardly fry chicken for a lot of reasons. No.1: it stinks my kitchen. No.2: it's oily and I regret eating it afterwards. No.3: I'm worried about deep frying.
I usually oven fry my chicken, drizzling the pieces with oil before baking. But I am always in awe of a good crispy chicken with bubbly crust. That really gets to me.
When I saw this recipe for buttermilk chicken, I tried it the very next day. It is "fried chicken" but only partially so. The buttermilk brined chicken is dredged in seasoned flour, fried for a few minutes then finished in the oven. It comes out crisp outside, tender and juicy inside. The cooking technique also makes the chicken crisp for longer. Perfect.
Apologies to the Colonel, but this is really, really good fried chicken. I am going to eat this more often than KFC (yup, still can't give it up).
Recipe adapted from Feeding Big's recipe for Oven Fried Chicken
Ingredients for the chicken and brine:
4 c. (1 quart) buttermilk or plain natural yoghurt
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. mixed herbs
2 kg. chicken portions
Rinse the chicken then pat dry.
Mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a large bowl.
Cover with cling film and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Ingredients for the coating:
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. onion granules
1 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. mixed herbs
2 tsps. paprika
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. celery salt
2 tsps. fine salt
3 tbsps. buttermilk or plain natural yoghurt
3 tbsps. milk
Mix the flour and seasonings together in a large mixing bowl.
Mix the butter milk (or yoghurt) with the milk. Pour on the seasoned flour and mix with a fork. This will cause the flour to form lumps. Rub the flour with your fingertips to distribute the lumps. This is the part that will give the chicken coating a crumbly texture.
Take the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk or yoghurt marinade and shake off the excess.
Dredge in the seasoned flour.
Instructions for frying:
Pre-heat the oven to 340° F/ 170° C.
Heat up a deep frying pan and add enough oil for frying. The oil has to be very hot. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time, making room for the oil to circulate between them.
Fry the chicken pieces at high temperature initially to set the crumbs. Lower the heat to medium and continue to fry until they are crisp and light golden brown, about 10 minutes turning over when one side is done.
Transfer to a baking pan with a rack to catch the drippings. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, or until fully cooked and crisped.
You can also just continue to fry the chicken on medium heat (after the initial high heat setting) until done, about 15-25 minutes.
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