finger lickin’ good y’all…

Fresh chicken #2. Oh, what to do? I’m thinking that maybe if it is fried, I might be able to ease my way into eating just a little bit more than 4 bites. Since I don’t have a large deep fat fryer, the raw carcass must be disassembled prior to cooking. My husband Mark, being the good man he is, offered to assist in “dejointing” the bird this first time. I think he was afraid that if I had to cut through the bones and joints myself, I might give up on this chicken adventure.

Together we viewed several you tube videos showing us how to cut up a chicken. It wasn’t as hard as we thought, but it also wasn’t quite as simple. Crack the breastbone and cut through it? Yikes! We ended up deboning the breast, mostly so that I’d have a better chance at eating it. It is, after all, the second piece of chicken I’ve had in 15 years.

Mark stashed the back bone, some rib meat, and the extra fat to make another batch of soup this week. I plopped the now pieced chicken into a buttermilk marinade and proceeded to scour the kitchen. I still have some chicken phobia when it comes to possible contamination. I once witnessed a friend writhe on the bathroom floor (and later the hospital) from salmonella. It’s not pretty.

In the meantime, I started on my coleslaw. I wasn’t sure what I was in the mood for but had read something this past week about adding apples for variety. I consulted Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian for some ideas. I love that he gives you a base to work from and then suggests things to add for variation. I borrowed his idea to add jalapenos for some kick and made up my own slaw concoction (best guess recipe below).

Using some of the extra buttermilk on hand, I whipped up my first batch of homemade biscuits. Now that I know how easy they are to make, I’ll never stoop to prepackaged biscuits again. I’m looking forward to playing with the formula to make cheesy or herb filled delights in the near future. Chicken and biscuits, hello!

On to the dredging, frying, baking portion of the chicken experiment. I used my dutch oven to fry the bird pieces, lessening the grease splatter on my stove top. At some point, a splash popped all the way out and hit me in the face though. Hot, hot grease! Definitely not the healthiest meal I’ve made in a while, but there is something irresistible about fried food. I rotated all of the chicken through the frying process, resting each piece on a rack when golden brown, and then baked it all in the oven for 5 more minutes.

By the time it came to serve the meal, I was very excited to try it. Again, I wanted to really like it. I put a lot of effort into making this dinner. Please let me be able to eat it and actually genuinely like it! And the verdict? YUM! It was so delicious. The spices were good. It was tender and juicy. I ate an entire chicken breast! As my beloved Beastie Boys would say, “It’s finger lickin’, finger lickin’ good y’all”.

Recipe: Crispy Fried Chicken

~1 quart (3 cups) buttermilk
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 chicken (about 3½ pounds), cut into eight pieces
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
garlic salt, paprika, other optional herbs/seasoning of choice
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add the chicken to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and discard the marinade. In a bowl, whisk the flour with the salt, pepper and other optional seasoning. Place 1 cup of the seasoned flour in a paper bag. Add one piece of chicken and shake until well coated. You can also mix flour in a bowl and just dip the pieces if preferred. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining chicken, one piece at a time, adding more seasoned flour to the paper bag as necessary. Let the floured chicken stand for 10 minutes to allow a crust to form.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325º and place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. In a deep cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 inch of oil to 365°. Add the chicken and fry, turning occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and bake until an instant-read thermometer registers 170º, about 5 to 10 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe: Sweet & Spicy Apple Slaw

1/2 head cabbage, shredded or thinly sliced
2 apples, shredded
1/2 C golden raisins
1 small jalapeno, finely diced
1 TBS dijon mustard
2-3 TBS apple cider vinegar (can substitute rice vinegar, red wine vinegar or lemon juice)
2-3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS brown sugar

Shred cabbage and apples, preferably in a food processor. Whisk mustard, vinegar, oil, and sugar. Taste and add more sugar or vinegar until it is just the right blend of tangy and sweet. Pour 1/2 of mixture onto cabbage and apples, mixing well. Continue to add until just saturated (you don’t want it to be too saucy). Stir in raisins and jalapenos. Chill for 20 minutes and let mingle.


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