We decided to “splurge” for supper last night and have chicken fried chicken. (I say, I say, don’t worry — Foghorn Leghorn is still safe from that pesky chicken hawk.) 🙂
For those who don’t know, chicken fried chicken is boneless, skinless chicken breast that is prepared and fried like chicken fried steak (which is a whole ‘nother dish that I’ll address separately at some point in the future).
I say that we “splurged” because of how we cook the chicken: we deep-fry it. But actually, deep-frying — or frying — often isn’t the nutritional disaster that many think it is: the trick is that if you get your oil hot enough for what you’re making, whatever you’re frying, be it vegetables or meat, will “sear” on the outside, with the result that the food actually absorbs relatively little in the way of oil.
And it’s not as though we eat chicken fried chicken — or deep-fried anything — with enough regularity for it to be thought of as “often.” (That is, unless you declare once or twice a month, on average, or 12 to 24 of the 1, 095 meals we eat annually — or 1 to 2 percent — as “often.”)
My tried and true method for fried chicken — chicken fried chicken or otherwise — has long involved soaking the chicken in milk for a wee bit (preferably buttermilk), coating it in seasoned flour, and then frying it. Recently (as within the past several months), though, I’ve been having trouble with the seasoned coating sticking.
That’s a bummer. 😦
Although I’ve not figured out (yet!) why the coating isn’t sticking now when it used to before, I have been noticing when I watch the FoodNetwork (which I catch at random times) that more than one show has advocated “double dipping” when deep-frying meat…and also advocating an egg beaten in with the milk, as well.
All of this can’t help but make me think of “double-dipping” — which likely means the same thing to those of you who are even just passing fans of Seinfeld as it does to me. (Sorry, I can’t show it here — “Embedding has been disabled by request” — but go to YouTube and search for “double dip seinfeld” and it’ll refresh your memory.)
I debated the egg and double-dip with hubby, who reminded me that his mom beats egg into the buttermilk for her chicken fried venison — and her chicken fried venison is mighty, mighty tasty.
So, I decided to try the double-dip when we made our chicken fried chicken…and on the plus side, by golly, it worked! The coating, most definitely, stayed on!
On the minus side (and there are ALWAYS pluses and minuses, with everything), it does make rather a mess in that there is some gooey milk/egg and flour mixture to get rid of, and also additional dishes to get clean.
But the crispy and flavorful coating, most definitely, stays on — and it sure smells yummy!
We use a deep-fryer for chicken fried chicken, but if you don’t have a deep fryer, you can use a deep skillet or a Dutch oven. I recommend using the Dutch oven because it will be easier, safer, and leave less of a mess than using a skillet. Think about it: the Dutch oven is deeper, yet the same circumference as a skillet, so when you fry in it, the deepness of the Dutch oven pot, combined with a spatter lid on top, greatly reduces the potential for injuries, accidents, and messes resulting from hot oil.
Chicken Fried Chicken (Double – Dipped) (Number of servings depend upon amount of chicken and heartiness of appetites; I usually fry up some extra so that we have some for lunches, snacks, and/or another meal)
- Desired amount of boneless, skinless chicken breast (recommend you cut the breast into strips or use “chicken tenders” or “chicken tenderloin,” which is chicken breast cut into strips)
- Beaten egg and buttermilk (approximately 1 beaten egg to every 1/2 to 2/3 cup buttermilk)
- All-purpose flour seasoned to taste: recommend seasoned salt (I use reduced sodium seasoned salt, and not much of that), paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and coarse ground black pepper
- Oil for frying (suggest Canola)
- Remove chicken from ‘fridge and allow it to lose a bit of its chill.
- Lightly beat together (with fork or whisk) the egg and buttermilk.
- Season flour to taste.
- Set up baking rack(s) upon which to place coated chicken. (Suggest placing waxed paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet(s) and placing rack(s) on sheet.)
- Heat oil in deep fryer or in deep skillet or Dutch oven. If cooking in deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 to 3″ of oil. Heat oil to 375 – 400F (I just set my deep fryer to its highest setting, which is 400F).
- While oil is heating, dredge chicken first in flour, then in egg/buttermilk wash, then in flour again. Place on rack and continue to the next piece of chicken. (Add and season more flour and/or more buttermilk/egg as necessary until all pieces are coated.)
- Allowing the uncooked meat to “rest” on the rack with the coating before frying it will help the coating to adhere. Let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before frying. (If you plan on frying up a “mess of chicken,” as we say in the South, by the time you get done with your last piece of chicken, you should be good to go with starting to cook the first pieces of chicken you coated.)
- Once oil is hot, fry chicken, a few pieces at a time, until coating is golden and chicken is cooked through. (Cooking times will vary based on your appliances and size/amount of chicken you’re cooking; I cooked up about 4 chicken tenders at a time in our deep fryer for about 5 minutes a batch.)
- Now, we like to place the chicken on a paper-towel lined plate or platter and keep it warm in the oven ’til we’re ready to eat. Alton Brown of the FoodNetwork says we shouldn’t do that, we should just place it on a rack and let it finish “crisping up,” but I tried that once, and we didn’t care for it. So do whatever is your preference — ’cause that’s part of the joy of making it yourself!!
- Store leftovers in the ‘fridge. Delicious cold, or will re-crisp nicely in the oven or toaster oven at 325F – 350F or after 5 or 10 minutes, flipping over/turning half-way through for best results.