I just saw a Stouffer’s commercial for their skillet meals for two. Now, as much as I love to cook, my weeknight meals never inspire flowers, music, or wine. The commercial makes me feel like I should stop cooking so damned much so that maybe when I do cook some awesomeness (or in the commercials case a decent prepackaged skillet meal) would get a romantic reaction of some sort. Who am I kidding…. Romance isn’t necessarily something Handsome specializes in.
Yes, I know the above paragraph makes me sound like a brat, but who doesn’t want a random flower, a glass of wine, or a little excitement because of their hard work on any day of the week? I’m not just making food all the time because I blog, mister!
So people, remember to kiss the cook from time to time. It’s simple, but keeps us happy and keeps you fed.
Now for dinner, I don’t really think there is much that makes fried chicken sexy, but it sure is good. I’ve heard a lot about Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken and figured as I’d never really had fried chicken that it was a good place to start. (Might as well start with the best).
Buttermilk Fried Chicken
From Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc
- 5 lemons, halved
- 12 bay leaves
- 1 bunch (4 ounces) flat-leaf parsley
- 1 bunch (1 ounce) thyme
- 1/2 cup clover honey
- 1 head garlic, halved through the equator
- 1/4 cup black peppercorns
- 2 cups (10 ounces) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 2 gallons water
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and cool completely, then chill before using. The bring can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Makes 2 gallons.
- two 2 1/2 to 3 pound chickens
- Chicken Brine
For Dredging and Frying:
- Peanut or canola oil for deep frying
- 1 quart buttermilk
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 1/4 cup onion powder
- 1 tbs plus 1 teas paprika
- 1 tbs plus 1 teas cayenne
- 1 tbs plus 1 teas kosher salt
- 1 teas freshly ground black pepper
- Ground fleur de sel or fine sea salt
- Rosemary and thyme springs for garnish
Cut each chicken into 10 pieces: 2 legs, 2 thighs, 4 breast quarters, and 2 wings. Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces, add in the chicken, and refrigerated for 12 hours (no longer, or the chicken may become too salty).
Remove the chicken from the brine (discard the brine) and rinse under cold water, removing any herbs or spices sticking to the skin. Pat dry with paper towels, or let air-dry. Let rest at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours, or until it comes to room temperature.
If you have two large pots (about 6 inches deep) and a lot of oil, you can cook the dark and white meat at the same time; if not, cook the dark meat first, then turn up the heat an cook the white meat. No matter what size pot you have, the oil should not come more than one-third of the way up the sides of the pot. Fill the pot with at least 2 inches of peanut oil and heat to 320 degrees F. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet. Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper.
Meanwhile, combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer half the coating to a second large bowl. Pour the buttermilk into a third bowl and season with salt and pepper. Set up a dipping station; the chicken pieces, one bowl of coating, the bowl of buttermilk, the second bowl of coating, and the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Just before frying, dip the chicken thighs into the first bowl of coating, turning to coat and patting off the excess; dip them into the buttermilk, allowing the excess to run back into the bowl; then dip them into the second bowl of coating. Transfer to the parchment-lined pan.
Carefully lower the tights into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully more the chicken pieces around in the oil and continue to fry, monitoring the oil temperature and turning the pieces as necessary for even cooking, for 11 to 12 minutes, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through and very crisp. Meanwhile, coat the chicken drumsticks and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Transfer the cooked thighs to the cooling rack skin-side-up and let rest while you fry the remaining chicken. (Putting the pieces skin-side-up will allow excess fat to drain, whereas leaving them skin-side-down could trap some of the fat.) Make sure that the oil is at the correct temperature, and cook the chicken drumsticks. When the drumsticks are one, lean them meat-side-up against the thighs to drain, then sprinkle the chicken with fine sea salt.
Turn up the heat and heat the oil to 340 degrees F. Meanwhile, coat the chicken breasts and wings. Carefully lower the chicken breasts into the hot oil and fry for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp. Transfer to the rack, sprinkle with salt, and turn skin side up. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the wings to the rack and turn off the heat.
Arrange the chicken on a serving platter. Add the herb springs to the oil (which will still be hot) and let them cook and crisp for a few seconds, then arrange them over the chicken.
Note: We let the chicken rest for 7 to 10 minutes after it comes out of the fryer so that it has a change to cook down. If the chicken has rested longer than 10 minutes, put the tray of chicken in a 400 degree F oven fro a minute or two to ensure that the crust is crisp and the chicken is hot.
Ok, ok. I know this recipe is forever long for some fried chicken but T. Keller’s recipes are worth it. If your going to do something, might as well do it right and from beginning to end he is a perfectionist. The quality of his finished recipes in executed your own kitchen should be no fail because of his thorough directions. So kick it up tonight, and enjoy.