Southern fried chicken that’s finger lick’n good
CHRIS’S KITCHEN | What is a dish that’s always going to be a real winner with your mates? Fried chicken, of course! This week our resident Aussie chef helps us with a dish that is just too ‘darn tooting’ good to resist.
WHEN it comes to comfort food or a meal that will soak up any memories of the previous night’s drinking, you can not beat a large plate of succulent, juicy, and spicy fried chicken pieces.
The cuisine of the southern American states is fast becoming the go to food in the US at the moment and quickly hitting the bars and restaurants of the UK shores. Historically, southern cuisine starts south of the Mason Dixon Line from Pennsylvania through to the lower states of the Texan boarders. So many countries have contributed and influenced southern states food it’s hard to put your fingers on where the flavours actually originate.
Spices and chili peppers from the African nations brought by the Spanish have slowly blended with cooking techniques to give us the fiery flavours that keep us reaching for more and more. Once crowd favourites like spicy chicken wings hit the table, my mates and I are crying out for more. Packed full of flavours that balance on spicy and peppery with subtle hints of citrus, they wake the taste buds and make them thirst for more.
Southern fried chicken however has to be one of my top culinary weaknesses. Ever since visiting Red Rooster in Harlem, New York, I cannot get enough. Making it at home however has been a labour of love. Testing recipes, spices and techniques is all part of developing your unique crispy skin chicken recipe for life.
Buying the spices is easy and in London we are spoilt for choice. With the strong African and Asian influences in our suburbs we have stalls selling high quality spices right on our doorstep. The spices will keep for months in an airtight jar or snap lock bag.
Next up is the chicken. Very good quality free-range chicken pieces are always available in London and cheaper then beef or lamb. Ask your butcher for a good deal on the cheaper cuts – legs, wings, thighs – and you will have a cost effective meal.
The most daunting stage of this recipe can be the frying process. You’re frying oil at high temperatures which may be simple but caution must always be taken.
The trick is to always bring the oil slowly to the required 180 degrees, and using a thermometer to check on the progress will help with the safety side of the process.
Test to see if the oil is ready by placing a small piece of bread into the oil and if it sizzles you are then ready to go. But as an important safety tip: allow the oil to cool slowly before moving it from the stove to clean the pot or stove area.
So, for my favourite southern fried chicken recipe that’s just too darn finger lick’n good – lets get cracking! Happy cooking and enjoy (y’all).
Chris’s favourite southern fried chicken recipe
What you need:
1.5kg of fresh chicken pieces
4 cups of plain flour
3 tsp of salt
3 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
1tsp onion seeds if available
2 liters of vegetable frying oil
What to do:
Fill a large pot with the oil and slowly bring to 180 degrees using a thermometer to regulate to heat.
Take a large bowl and add the flour, spices together and mix well.
Take a few pieces of chicken and roll in the spice mix and place on a floured plate until all pieces are coated.
Once all the pieces are coated place three pieces into the hot oil and allow to slowly start browning. This should take 4-5 minutes to be sure the chicken is cooked. Remove from the oil and place on a baking tray and rest in a warm oven at 120 degrees.
Continue with the remaining pieces until finished.
Once completed turn down the oil and allow cooling.
Remove the chicken from the oven and season with salt and cracked pepper and serve with wedges of fresh lemon.