Fancy-Fried Chicken

Posted: January 18, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Chicken, Johanna | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I have made fried chicken many, many times. I always shallow-fry, because the idea of dunking a raw piece of chicken into a pot of boiling oil and hoping that you can cook the chicken without burning the outside and without turning the whole thing into an oil slick freaks me out. It’s too much anxiety.
However, I’ve been feeling slightly bummed out by my last few fried chicken events. I mean, they’ve tasted good, but they weren’t great. So I was in need of some inspiration, and maybe some change to the technique.

While reading Food 52 one day, I saw that there was a new recipe up from the hubby of one of my favored bloggers (Jen from Last Night’s Dinner). Her husband, Mike, posted an ingenious-looking recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
The beauty behind this recipe is that you first brine the chicken in buttermilk, Old Bay, salt and pepper for several hours. Then, you par-boil it IN the brine and some water, until it’s basically cooked through. Then, you coat it in flour and deep fry it, to get that crispy, delicious outside.

I love this technique. I’ll tell you right now, it is 100%, 150%, 200% worth it.  Brining the chicken makes it super juicy and very flavorful. The par-boiling means that there’s no risk of drying out your chicken. Shaking it up in the bag of flour is where it gets all the crispiness and yum. And then of course, there’s the 2 minutes of deep-frying per piece, which makes it TASTE ridiculous and bad for you, but keeps it from really BEING ridiculous and bad for you.
The one modification that I might make to the method is in the next-to-last step. I found that not enough of a crunch came through from just a pure  coating in flour. It might be that I let the chicken cool too long (the recipe didn’t specify) and it got too dry on the surface for much flour to stick.
But in general, I would probably dip each piece of chicken in one more buttermilk bath before a shake in the flour, just in an effort to bring a TEENY it more crunch to the party. But the method, otherwise, is phenomenal. Please do not skip the last step of the recipe, which is to sprinkle it with crunchy or flaky salt after frying. It makes a HUGE impact.

Oh. Ahem. One last tip. Buy enough oil. I bought a too-small bottle of oil, and ended up having to use my tiniest saucepot, and deep fry one piece of chicken at a time.
See?

It didn’t impact the taste of the chicken in any way. It was just really darn annoying.


Chicken and Whine

Posted: January 17, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa, Chicken | 6 Comments »

This week has been AWFUL.  Between ridiculous work announcements, full teaching evaluation, friend worry and stupid boys, I pretty much stopped functioning sometime around Wednesday.  By Thursday I had lost my mind so completely that I went to the bar and stayed out until 2am.  Completely unintelligent since I had to work the next day, but entirely worth it since it helped me get through the rest of the week.  Normally, when I am in a funk like that I can just get into the kitchen and lose myself in a recipe.  By the time I am done, I feel better about everything and can think with a clear head again.  However today, that did not so much work as it did totally backfire.  I had some left over chicken in the fridge from last week that I decided to fry up so I had it for the rest of the week.  Unfortunately my mind was so jacked up that I burned half the chicken.  I have been making fried chicken for years, I can almost do it in my sleep.  I can not BELIEVE that I burned it.  SO from that little adventure, I moved on to a recipe that a monkey could do: Red Wine Chicken Stew.

The Recipe:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (1 cup water plus 1/2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube)
  • 1/4 tsp thyme

Literally all this entails is sauteeing the garlic for a minute, then adding the tomatoes until they give up their liquid.  At that point you throw in everything else and let it cook on low for an hour.

The title of the recipe is pretty misleading, since without a thickener it does not get thick (most obvious statement ever), and stew it supposed to be fairly thick, or at least thicker than just a broth.  So of course, rather than just taking it as it is, I feel the need to play with it and try to make it into what I want it to be.  My first move was to add 3Tbsp of butter, because what isn’t better with butter?  It also has the added bonus of thickening liquid, but keeping it  smooth rather than cornstarch which can leave it a little grainy.  I also added about 3/4 of a Tbsp of flour.  I let it simmer on the stove, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.  It didn’t thicken as much as I wanted, but it definitely improved.  Next time I will just make a roux and then follow the recipe.  The good news is that by the time this was done, I did feel a little better.  Pair this with some crusty bread and a large glass of wine, and it almost became a good evening.  I’m just glad that after my burned chicken debacle, I was able to successfully create something that was edible.  Stupid Chicken….

Chicken Stew


It's AlIIIIIIIIIIIIVEEEEE

Posted: October 29, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, Chicken, Johanna, Silliness, vegetarian | 2 Comments »

Hello friends! As you may have noticed over the past week, PGUK has had some serious troubles. Most of them stemming from server issues.

However!!! We are back, live, and with no lost content! So never fear, your favorite lady bloggers (we ARE your favorites, right?????) can get back to their rigorous cooking-and-eating schedule (like we ever got off it) and fill you in on every bit of it!

For now, I’ll leave you wtih a preview of what’s coming from me on PG:

Alex Runs, Joh Cooks is BACK with 3 protein-packed recipes – spoiler alert: 1 of them is FRENCH!!
Poulet Provencal, another AMAZING recipe from the March 2008 Gourmet Magazine
Apple. Cider. DONUTS
The most outstanding Mushroom Risotto you’ve ever eaten.
An all-new take on Eggplant Parm

And much, MUCH MORE!!!

Get excited, my friends. Very very excited. :)


A giant interweb dinner party

Posted: October 14, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Chicken, delish, Johanna, slow but worth it | 3 Comments »

The following is a very formative recipe for me.
Like many cooking stories that begin this way, this recipe involves leeks. It also, luckily, involves Gourmet Magazine. AND, it has a past.
When I was just starting out with this blog, this was the first recipe I ever cooked from Gourmet. So for A Mingling of Tastes’ Worldwide Gourmet Dinner Party, I had to take it on again.

Gourmet March 2008 — Chicken in Riesling

ChickyChickyBrowning

1 whole chicken’s worth of parts sprinkled with salt and pepper, and browned (in batches) in a combination of butter and olive oil.

4 medium (ok 2 HUGE) leeksEverybody in!

2 HUGE leeks chopped, along with 1 shallot, browned in butter. The browned chicken pieces, as well as any juices accumulated on the plate, added back into the Le Creuset with the leeks.
Before the Braise

4 medium (ok, 2 HUGE) carrots are cut up and added into the casserole, along with a cup of Riesling. And here is where I had the problem a year and a half ago, and where I had the problem again tonight. The next instruction tells you to boil until the liquid is reduced by half …. 3-5 minutes.
I can confirm for you that after boiling the hell out of the dish for at least 10 minutes, the liquid level had INCREASED rather than reduced by half. This is frustrating to me.

Regardless, the chicken, carrots, wine, and leeks went into the oven to braise, and when they came out, they met their old friend “heavy cream”, and became…. Chicken in riesling.
The big reveal

The things that amazed me about this recipe last time around could be summed up in this phrase: “Basically, I was proud that my first foray into nice cooking had produced something so…. nice.”

That’s the thing. That’s what I will miss about Gourmet. Their recipes were perfect. And they made me confident. I was brave. Even though I initially was intimidated by all the techniques involved, when I approached this dish last night I was confident. I knew I could do this dish. And I was not disappointed. It was the perfect thing.

Cheers, Gourmet. You always knew the perfect thing. And this week, I’ll be cooking a few more, to send you off in style.


Spatchcock: That's what she said?

Posted: August 14, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: cheap, Chicken, delish, Johanna, Roast chicken, Silliness, Spatchcock | No Comments »

Spatchcockery!I’m sure you’ve noticed that there’s something……off about that roast chicken over there. Typically, chickens are shaped like American footballs, only with legs and wings. But this one, it’s flat. In fact, it looks like it’s holding its hands to its chest, saying “Oh my!” Very flat. Like a book that’s been opened along its spine. Some people call this butterflying. But the Irish….Oh, the Irish. They have to come up with “funny” names for things. Silly names. Names that are contractions of the phrase “Dispatch the cock” and end up as “Spatchcock” and make me giggle just about every time I think about them. Curse you, Irishmen!!!

“Spatchcocking” is the process whereby you cut the poor chicken’s backbone out, then either remove or smash open the breastbone, so that you have a single plane on each side, instead of a round chicken. It makes the meat cook much faster.  Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, and others have used this technique with a brick to cook a chicken pressed flat on a grill or skillet. Jen and Dietsch at Last Night’s Dinner use the spatchcockery for roasting sometimes. I figured that since spatchcocking reduces the cooking time drastically because it increases the surface area that can be cooked at once, that on a hot Sunday it was the perfect thing.

So, I watched this video, which ended up being only slightly helpful. In the end, I’d recommend this video, which actually appears to show the effort exerted in spatchcocking the bird. After watching the video, I girded my loins, cleaned my kitchen shears, and got to work. It was harder than I expected, but what I ended up with looked exactly right. In fact, it looked perfect for rubbing with toasted spices, and roasting in the oven.

Oh dearCumin & Corriander seedsYellow hands from Tumeric!!!

So, I did that. I salted the bird up, inside and out, and then toasted cumin and corriander seeds in a dry skillet, ground them in my coffee grinder, and mixed the cumin/corriander mix with tumeric, a tiny bit of cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. I smeared this all over, as you can see from my hands, and turned myself thoroughly yellow. But, it was worth it, I promise.

The roasting pan (my Le Creuset braiser) went into the oven at 425 to heat up. It may have been 450. I can’t remember.  However, when the oven was preheated, I took out the roasting pan, put in a tablespoon of oil so the chicken wouldn’t stick, and put the chicken in skin side up for 10 minutes. Then, I flipped the chicken and roasted it skin side down for 15 minutes. Finally, I flipped it one more time, stuck my probe thermometer in the thigh, and let it cook skin side up until it reached 167 degrees. Why 167? Because I’m weird.

I served it with some fresh eggplant and spinach shaak from Dipali’s mom’s recipe, and white rice. And ohhhh boy.

Dinner!

Good times were had by all.



Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.