Friday, November 11, 2011

Rosemary Lemon Fried Chicken - November 10, 2011

I have been craving fried chicken pretty much since the moment I realized that my corn allergy made all trashy fast food fried chicken off limits. I knew it could be made at home, but had never attempted it myself and so was a bit nervous about the idea, especially after the tater tot incident where I nearly burned the house down.

But I got an enameled dutch oven and a proper thermometer and Michael Ruhlman's section on "frying" in Ruhlman's Twenty reassured me that deep frying wasn't really scary if I used both of them to control the temperature.

Plus his recipe for fried chicken that was first brined in a rosemary, lemon, garlic, and onion solution sounded so delicious I decided to go for it!

The recipe was a two day process. First I created the brine and let the chicken soak for 24 hours, then removed from the brine on the morning of the second day and allowed it to dry uncovered in the refrigerator for about 8 hours. In the evening I breaded the chicken, following Ruhlman's recipe exactly - including paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper in the flour and using organic fat free buttermilk. The result was incredibly delicious. The breading was reminiscent of a much less greasy and better tasting Popeye's chicken and the chicken itself had amazing notes of rosemary.

The only problem I ran into was that my chicken's breading seemed to be done long before I thought the chicken inside was actually cooked through. Ruhlman's directions said to fry "until the chicken was cooked through, about 12-15 minutes depending on the size of the piece." But how do you know when the chicken is cooked through? My breading was turning an alarming dark brown just 6 or 7 minutes in to the cooking and I ended up pulling everything at the 12 minute end of that range or earlier. If it had stayed in for a full 15 minutes it would have been burnt to a crisp.

That aside, I've been loving Ruhlman's book and highly recommend it for both accomplished and new cooks. Whether you are just starting out or looking to refine your skills, you'll find things in here to love.

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