Fried Chicken with Onion Strings (RR)
OK, so, question for all you food photographers out there – how do you make a plate of fried food look good when it’s all the same color and crispy texture?? What am I missing here? Let me just say that food photograhy? Is not easy. I have so much to learn and so far to go but it’s FUN! (Be it frustrating at times…) Chris got me a table-top studio for my birthday which I’m guessing will come in pretty darn handy this winter when it starts getting dark before I even leave work…
So this is another Ruth Reichl recipe – “Claritha’s Fried Chicken”. It was pretty darn tasty. I read a lot of comments online from people who tried it and said it was too salty – to that I say, you probably used table salt when you should have used kosher salt! Table salt is super fine and salty, where kosher salt has a bigger crystal and doesn’t impart quite so much salty flavor. The saltiness comes from the first step, brining, for which the book does not define an amount of salt to use. Just says “Cover in salt.” Well, I did, but within reason, and I think the chicken turned out quite tasty. Here’s the thing, though – some people (Southen Ladies, the Colonel) have perfected the art of making fried chicken. And their fried chicken is GOOD. And available. I can even pick it up on the way home if I want. So is it worth it to make my own? I think it was definitely worth trying. And maybe I’ll try another couple times. But in the end, I’m not the next Colonel with a savory blend of 11 secret spices (which is actually only 4… I forget where I read that). So I’ll let the pros do what they’re good at, and maybe I’ll spend my cooking time making the family bolognese sauce. I guess you have to know what you’re good at, right?
The second stage of this recipe involves soaking the chicken in buttermilk and onions overnight. But then the recipe doesn’t actually use those ingredients. So I turned to Pioneer Woman, who thankfully had an onion string recipe that involves soaking onions in buttermilk and frying in grease – which fit in perfectly with this recipe! How convenient.
Claritha’s Fried Chicken and Pioneer Woman’s Onion Strings (serves 4)
2 1/2 – 3 lb Chicken, cut up into 8 serving pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts)
3 Tbsp Kosher Salt
3 cups Buttermilk
2 small or 1 large White Onion, sliced very thin
2 cups Flour
1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Cracked Black Pepper
1 cup Crisco
1/4 cup Butter (1/2 a stick)
1/2 cup Veggie Oil
Salt the chicken pieces well and let them sit for 2 hours. Rinse well and submerge in buttermilk and onions overnight. When ready to cook, put the flour and seasonings in a bag or bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk mix and dunk them one at a time into the flour mix to cover. Set out 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Reserve leftover flour mix and onions. Heat crisco and butter in a large skillet, big enough for all the pieces. When the oil is cracklin’ hot, place the chicken pieces into the pan and cover, cooking over med-high heat for 10 minutes. Uncover, flip, and continue to cook until internal temp reaches 140-150 and the juices run clear. If your stove runs hot or you’re using a cast iron skillet, things will go quicker for you! When the chicken is done, put in on a cookie tray and stick it in the oven at 350 to keep warm and dry/crispy.
To cook the onion rings, add the veggie oil to the grease already in the pan, and continue to heat on high. You want it HOT for these. Grab a handful of onions from the buttermilk, and dunk in the flour. When the oil is hot enough, plop them in the pan and fry them up. They’ll go quick. When theyre golden, transfer them to a cooling rack over newspaper or papertowels to drain and cool a bit. Continue in batches, waiting for the oil to reheat in between.
Then enjoy your yummy dinner before you spend another hour in the kitchen cleaning the grease off the ceiling 😉
Filed under: finger food, supper | 1 Comment