Up until a few years ago, I was one of those girls always on a diet. When I cooked it was some low-fat concoction so I’ve actually never made fried chicken. The weather was warming up here in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago, so I was in the mood for classic picnic foods like fried chicken, but I’m still not a fan of deep frying. I browsed through my Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and found this recipe for easier fried chicken. Basically you pan fry it first, then bake it too cook thoroughly. I’ve never made it the complicated way so I have no idea if it actually is easier, but it turned out crunchy and juicy nonetheless. I was in a bit of a rush because I don’t like leaving my daughter in the living room by herself for too long. I missed the part about dividing the spices between the marinade and the coating so I used all the spices in the marinade and had to compensate later. Also, in my first batch I missed the part about turning up the stove to keep the oil at 375, after you’ve added the chicken. I had to keep the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes longer to get it up to the correct temperature at the end. So many chefs will tell you to read a new recipe carefully before trying it for the first time, in order to minimize mistakes. This is why! I think it still turned out great and I would make this again.
Easier Fried Chicken
1 ¼ cups buttermilk
Salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Dash hot sauce
3 ½ lbs of bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs), trimmed
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 ¾ cups vegetable oil
Whisk 1 cup of buttermilk, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp paprika, pinch cayenne, and hot sauce together in a large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and reheat to 400 degrees. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Whisk flour, baking powder and 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, remaining ¾ tsp garlic powder, ¾ tsp paprika and remaining cayenne pepper together in large bowl. Add remaining ¼ buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form. Working with one chicken piece at a time, dredge in the flour mixture, pressing mixture into pieces to form thick, even coating. Place on large plate, skin side up.
Heat oil in 11 inch straight sided sauté pan over medium high heat until registers 375 degrees. Carefully place chicken in pan, skin side down, and fry until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain oil at 375 degrees). Flip and continue to fry until golden brown on second side, 2-4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack and bake until breast pieces register 160 degrees and/or thighs and drumsticks register 175, 15-20 minutes. (Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from oven as they reach correct temperature. ) Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.