Buttermilk fried chicken
Everyone enjoys eating foods that are novel to them, and when serving fried chicken to a group of hungry Irish farmers, you can’t go wrong
- Serves: 6
- Cooking Time: 30 mins
- Course: Main Course
- Cuisine: American
- Serves 6
- For the brine:
- 5 lemons, cut in half
- 20 bay leaves
- 1 bunch (4oz) chervil
- 1 bunch (1oz) thyme
- 1 bunch tarragon
- ½ cup (170g) honey
- 1 head garlic, cut in half through the center
- ¾ cup (140g) red peppercorns
- 2 cups (285g) sea salt
- 1 gallon spring water
- ½ gallon (900ml) buttermilk
- For the coating:
- 5 cups (625g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (125g) chickpea flour
- ¼ cup (50g) garlic powder
- ¼ cup (50g) onion powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Two 3lb to 4lb (1.4–1.8 kg) chickens, cut into pieces
- Peanut or canola oil, for deep-frying
- 1 quart (475ml) fresh or cultured buttermilk
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Ironically, this classic american-style dish is by far the most requested Sunday lunch on our farm. Everyone enjoys eating foods that are novel to them, and when serving fried chicken to a group of hungry Irish farmers, you can’t go wrong.
Since we raise our own free-range poultry, we have the luxury of using farm-raised chicken for this meal.
Our fresh buttermilk makes it ridiculously succulent, but buttermilk from the supermarket will work just as well.
While there is a lot of preparation for this recipe, it is the result of passionately testing many varieties of fried chicken formulas shared by friends from the American South. This combination of brining and flavorful coating is the one that finally put a smile on everyone’s face. Chickpea flour is the secret to its lovely crunch.
Method: Make the brine. Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot over high heat, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring to dissolve the salt. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, then chill before using. The brine can be refrigerated for up to three days.
Make the chicken: Pour the brine into a container large enough to hold the chicken pieces. Add the chicken, and refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours.
Remove the chicken from the brine, and rinse under cold water, removing any herbs or spices that stick to the skin. Pat dry with paper towels.
Fill a pot or deep saucepan with at least 2 inches of oil and heat to 160 degrees Celsius.
Combine all the coating ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the buttermilk into another bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
Coat the thighs and drumsticks in the flour mixture, dip in the buttermilk, and do a final dredge in the flour mixture. Carefully lower the thighs and drumsticks into the hot oil. Adjust the heat as necessary to return the oil to the proper temperature. Fry for 2 minutes, then carefully move the chicken pieces around in the oil and continue to fry, monitoring the oil temperature, and turning the pieces as necessary for even cooking, until the chicken is a deep golden brown, cooked through, and very crisp (for 11 to 12 minutes). Remove from the frying pan and place on a cooling rack.
Turn up the heat, and wait for the oil to reach170 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, coat the chicken breasts and wings. Carefully lower the chicken breasts into the hot oil and fry for 7 minutes, or until golden brown, cooked through, and crisp. Transfer to a cooling rack, sprinkle with salt, and turn skin side up. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the wings to the rack, and turn off the heat.
Arrange the chicken on a serving platter and let rest for 7 to 10 minutes after cooking so it has a chance to cool down.
Scullery Notes: If the chicken has rested for longer than 10 minutes, put it on a tray in a 200 degree /gas 5 oven for 1 to 2 minutes to ensure that the crust is crisp and the chicken is hot.