Thursday, June 17, 2010

A New Fried Chicken

My love of fried chicken is well-documented on this blog. A crisp crunchy coating turns a meat as ordinary as chicken into something extraordinary.

Fried chicken has always been a challenge for me. I always fear undercooking it or burning it. I’m afraid if I leave the heat under the oil on at the same leave, it will become too hot and burn my chicken before it’s cooked. If I turn the heat down, my chicken won’t cook properly and be all raw and greasy. I’ve had the latter happen to me. It wasn’t good. Despite the setback or two, I continue to try to make my own fried chicken because I want to be able to have fried chicken whenever I want it.

Now I have a new challenge. As we plug along in the Great Gluten-Free Experiment, it means I need alternatives for many commonplace foods. Fried chicken is traditionally coated in flour. How would one of my alternative flours taste? The time has come to find out. I decided to mix rice flour with some coarse cornmeal for flavor.

Fried chicken is one of those foods that is going upscale like bacon and strawberry shortcake and pickles. Hotty Totty chefs are now creating complex fried chicken recipes that requires things like brining. Personally, I think fried chicken is just as good the old-fashioned way. Marinate it in buttermilk mixed with plenty of hot sauce.

I gave my chicken a double dip back into the buttermilk and crumbs. Then it was into the hot oil.

Next I browned the chicken in the oil and then opted to finish cooking it in the oven. Is that cheating? Well, Martha Stewart does it that way. So does The Pioneer Woman. So does Ina Garten. If they can do it that way, so can I. It takes a lot of anxiety about oil temps and cooking times away. If you don’t like it, then my birthday is in a month and you can buy me a Fry Daddy!

You likey? I sure did. Unfortunately the coating on the first few pieces did burn a little. It was still wonderfully crispy. The cornmeal gave a different texture and flavor. The spices and the marinade made the meat beautifully tender with hints of spice. Although the coating was a bit black in some spots I had no issues with undercooking or overcooking the meat. This one was a keeper.

I was tempted to employ my new waffle iron and make chicken and waffles, but I have a beach vacation coming up in 6 weeks. I can’t afford the calories!

Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

1 chicken cut into 8 pieces*
3 cups buttermilk
Enough sriracha (or Frank’s) to turn the milk nice and pink
1 cup rice flour
1 cup coarse cornmeal
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
Oil for frying (I like peanut oil)

Place 2 cups of buttermilk in a bowl and mix in hot sauce. Submerge chicken pieces and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Remove chicken from marinade and drain off excess buttermilk. Pat dry with paper towel.

Mix together flour, cornmeal, and spices in a shallow bowl. Place the third cup of buttermilk in another bowl.

Dip chicken pieces in flour mixture. Then dip them back into the buttermilk and then into the flour again. Let rest for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour oil in large pan with deep sides such as a cast iron skillet (ideal) or sauté pan. Heat to 350 degrees. To test if it’s hot enough, toss in a shake of flour. It should sizzle and turn brown.

Cook chicken pieces in the oil and cook for 3-5 minutes per side until the coating is crispy ajnd browned. Don’t fry them all at once. Go in batches so the pan doesn’t become crowded.

Place chicken on a cookie sheet and place in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and try not to devour it all at once.

*I will not judge you if you buy a pre-cut chicken.


bellini valli said...

Buttermilk always give the chicken a little tang and makes it so moist and tender. Well worth the wait.

velva said...

My hat is off to you! I have a love for fried chicken as well. your use of cornmeal was very interesting. Loved it.

katiez said...

There was a summer, year's ago, when I was determined to make fried chicken for every picnic that came up. I fried lots of chicken. I love fried chicken. Than I got tired of hauling the used oil out back to throw away and switched to 'oven fried' I may switch back. This lools really good!

dining room tables said...

I have a love for fried chicken, too! And this one is pretty interesting! I like the way you did something for the flavors!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Val - It really is such a key to perfect textured chicken, especially making the breast juicier.

Velva - Thanks. The gluten-free thing really forces some creativity. I did learn that cornmeal and rice burn a bit faster than regular flour though. :-(

Katie - The fry-and-bake method works wonders. Takes away so much guess work.

Tables, - Thanks for stopping by.

The Blonde Duck said...

It's a good thing I'm making fried chicken tonight or I'd cry.

Sue said...

I loved what you used for the coating. That must have given it such great flavor. Joy of Cooking has a fabulous recipe with the same method that you used. Brown it first then into the oven to cook. They put it on a rack first, which keeps it crisp. Of course, I used to negate the benefits of NOT deep frying, by making a pan gravy with lots of flour and milk in the pan I browned the chicken in. Yum.

So at the end of the day has being gluten-free changed your life? Do you both feel much better?

The Blonde Duck said...

Let's hear it for fried chicken!

The Duo Dishes said...

Buttermilk is a great way to get chicken ready for frying. Cornmeal is also nice. Such great crunch!