In my last post, I shared how I, successfully, replicated Bacon & Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits with a Maple-Chipotle Butter. This time, I'm going to share how I made my first crispy Southern Fried Chicken, that I served with the biscuits.
It might surprise many of you that I've never made Southern-Style Fried Chicken. Truthfully, I don't make a lot of fried foods. When I was about nine years old, the first dinner my mother taught me to cook was fried chicken. She taught me how to season the chicken with salt & pepper, sprinkle some flour and cook the chicken in some oil. Easy Peasy. I don't think I've made that dish since elementary school, which goes to show that it didn't leave any kind of nostalgic childhood memory for me.
The same restaurant that inspired me to make their signature biscuits, serves a Fried Chicken dinner, every Sunday. From what I've read, reservations sell out fast--at the cost of $36.00 per person. After reading reviews, most people said it was the best fried chicken "ever". Ever is a word I take very lightly. Compared to...?
Anyway, when I calculated what our dinner tab would be, after adding a salad, side dishes (not included), and beverages/cocktails, I figured the tab would be about $100.00 for the two of us. For fried chicken?! Ouch.
My husband smacked his lips, at the mention of Fried Chicken. Before I knew it, I blurted out "I can make it for you"! His smile made me realize that I had just challenged myself to something new to me.
For inspiration, I checked out Cook's Illustrated and immediately settled on their "Easier Fried Chicken" recipe. For starters, their recipes uses 1-3/4 cups vegetable oil, as opposed to five cups of oil. This is a good thing, as I don't often deep fry things in oil. I also liked the idea of brining the chicken in salted buttermilk. (The buttermilk helps to tenderize the outside layer of chicken, and the salt ensures juicy chicken.) Win! It goes without saying that I spend a few extra bucks to buy free-range hormone-free chicken that hasn't been brined in who-knows-what.