The other day, my husband and I were watching Cook’s Country and they were cooking battered fried chicken. Never even contemplated battered fried chicken, as I knew that my favorite fried chicken was not battered, but dredged in a flour mixture. Believe me, I have watched the fry cooks through the walk up window at that chicken shack so many times trying to discover their secret. I do make my own version of fried chicken, dredged of course, at home when I hear that siren’s call. Having tried battered fried chicken from inferior restaurants, it always had a strange texture about it, not exactly crispy, more pillowy and for fried chicken, that’s certainly not what you want.
The people on Cook’s Country claimed that they had figured it out, a ratio of corn starch to flour would make it crispy. They even tasted it in front of the camera with the over emphasized crunching, (have I ever told you that I hate when the tv shows over emphasize crunching or clanging of bowls or simmering on the stove, it’s a pet peeve, but I digress…) I was scoffing, my husband on the other hand was intrigued. He’s not from the south, he doesn’t understand the rule that you find your favorite fried chicken and you don’t deviate, ever.
My husband kept mentioning that I should try the recipe. So the other day, at the market I found the perfect specimen for frying, small. I know it goes against the American mentality that bigger is better, but in the case of fried chicken, smaller is better. Why, you ask? Because you want to cook the chicken through without burning the coating. We cut it down into 8 pieces and then split the breasts in half, giving us a total of ten pieces of chicken. We battered a few and put them in the hot oil. Always, always work with a thermometer when grease is involved, keep children away from the oil and place a few items in at a time to see where your oil level reaches, the last thing I want is a kitchen fire or someone getting hurt. Capiche.
Alright, so I admit, I LOVED this chicken. It was crunchy and the nicest thing about it, I let it cool all the way down on my counter top and it stayed crunchy in the refrigerator. So if you are into standing by the glow of your refrigerator snacking on bits of fried chicken, this is perfect for you. I will definitely make this recipe again. Yum!
Batter Fried Chicken
adapted from Cook’s Country
1 quart cold water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 whole chicken, broken down into 8 pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornstarch
5 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups cold water
2 quarts vegetable oil
Make the brine by whisking together 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup table salt and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in large bowl. After the sugar and salt have dissolved, add chicken pieces and refrigerate for one hour.
Meanwhile, in large bowl add together the flour, cornstarch, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, baking powder, salt, and water. Whisk until the batter is smooth and refrigerate until ready to use.
After 1 hour, place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil and begin pre-heating.
Discard brine and pat chicken dry using paper towels.
Re-whisk the batter to ensure an even consistency. Add some of your chicken pieces to the bowl with the batter. If you are mixing white with dark meat, try to cook your batches either all white meat or all dark meat.
When the oil reaches 350 degrees, remove chicken from batter one piece at a time and let the excess batter drip back into the bowl to avoid a doughy crust; add chicken piece to hot oil.
Fry chicken for 14 to 15 minutes until the skin becomes deeply golden brown and the white meat registers 160 degrees (any legs of thighs should be cooked to 175 degrees). After 4 minutes stir the chicken to ensure that it has not stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Place the chicken on brown paper grocery store sack. Allow it to drain then pat with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces.