Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Recently the infamous secret blend of eleven secret herbs and spices that makes the chicken from KFC so moreish was leaked all over the internet, and I must admit I am due to host all of the family to trial the recipe and see if it matches up that of the fast-food chain favourite - I'll be sure to post the results here.

For now, however, after a few years of trial and error, here is my own preferred version of Buttermilk Fried Chicken.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

I have experimented a lot taking inspiration from BBC Good Food, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart and a whole range of American blogs and websites, but this combination seems to go down the best - especially when served with crunchy homemade slaw and macaroni cheese.

Buttermilk is quite easy to come by in supermarkets these days, but you can make your own by combining the required amount of natural yoghurt with a tablespoon of lemon juice or even vinegar.

I use a dry brine rather than wet, but I then marinate further in the buttermilk for a couple of hours at least, to ensure the chicken is really tender and moist on cooking.

It may seem a lot of effort to marinade overnight and then for a further couple of hours but once you make this the once, I guarantee you'll be back for more. This does pack a punch so to make a milder version cut down on some of the spices and leave out the tabasco from the buttermilk marinade. We made some goujons from chicken breast for Bridget and she liked them though, so it depends on your taste buds.

This is one of the naughtiest recipes I make at home, and one of the most happily devoured, it really is delicious but best to avoid if you are on any kind of diet - this is definitely a 'once in a while' kind of dish.

Here's how:
  • 4 pieces if chicken, thighs are best but you can use drumsticks
  • 1 litre rapeseed, vegetable or ground nut oil

The dry brine:
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Zest of 1 large or 2 small lemons

The wet marinade:
  • 1 tub of buttermilk (250-300ml)
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

The flour coating:
  • 220g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper.

Firstly in a small bowl combine all of the dry brine ingredients. Now place the chicken into a marinade bag or bowl and scatter over the brine. Try to ensure each piece gets a good coating by using your hands to rub in. Now zip up and place into the fridge overnight, or for a good 10-12 hours.

When ready for the next stage, place the buttermilk, tabasco, lemon juice, garlic and Worcestershire Sauce into a large bowl or another marinade bag and then place each piece of chicken inside. Zip up then use your hands on the outside to ensure each piece is immersed in the buttermilk. Return to the fridge and leave for a couple of hours.

Chicken marinading in buttermilk

Pre-heat the oven to around 100 degrees – it’s just to keep the chicken warm once cooked if cooking in batches.

Now pour your oil into a fryer - or if like me you don't own one, a good quality wok or metal, heavy bottomed pan and place on a medium heat.

Meanwhile combine the flour coating ingredients, stir and set aside.

Test the oil is hot enough by dropping in a breadcrumb, when it sizzles, you know it's ready.

Now take each piece of chicken and coat in the flour, all over, tossing to ensure an even spread.

Now use tongs or a metal slotted spoon to lower the chicken into the hot oil - be careful. If using a wok or pan you'll need to do this in stages of 3-4 pieces at a time.

After 6-7 minutes, use the tongs or spoon to turn over the chicken pieces. Now cook for the same amount of time on the other side, or until cooked through and golden brown and very tempting looking on the outside.

Now place onto a wire rack in the oven and repeat the process until all the chicken is cooked, then place onto some kitchen towel on a plate to absorb any excess grease.

Buttermilk fried chicken

Serve with your choice of accompaniments. Enjoy!

Buttermilk fried chicken

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