Last weekend I made a southern inspired meal which consisted of sweet tea, buttermilk oven-fried chicken, cornbread, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and home-made pound cake with a citrus cream. Fried chicken is something we rarely eat, but about once a year we'll get a hankering for it. I attempted to make fried chicken for the first time during the memorial day weekend, but it was a complete train wreck. The recipe I followed looked great in the pictures, but the chicken itself was gross, the breading was not crunchy, in fact it was soggy in parts, and didn't have much taste. I decided to create my own recipe this time and I think it was MUCH better. Letting the chicken marinate in buttermilk really yields a super moist texture that is only complemented by the crunchy exterior.
1 chicken (2-3 lbs but no bigger)
4 cups buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
2 tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
canola or peanut oil for frying
Begin by cutting the chicken into pieces. Make sure you wash each piece really really well. Get in there and remove all of the gross bits like the veins and excess fat along with that clear goop that the chicken tends to have. Rinse each piece with vinegar and set aside. In a large gallon ziplock bag, add the buttermilk and then begin adding the chicken. Store the chicken in the fridge overnight to marinate.
The next day set up your breading station. In a shallow bowl add the flour and all of the seasonings and combine well. Begin taking each piece of the chicken and dredging it in the flour. Set aside until you're ready to begin frying.
The next steps are crucial if you want to get a nice crispy texture on the outside. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking. In a large non-stick shallow pan, add enough oil to come up about one inch from the bottom. Turn the heat on to medium high, and let the temperature come up to 360 degrees. Once the oil is hot, begin adding the chicken in. Do not crowd the pan because you'll cause the temperature to drop and this will give you an oil texture instead of a nice light crunchy texture. Allow the chicken to cook until it has a very light golden color on all sides. Make sure you use tongs to turn the chicken and to remove it from the pan- using a fork will pierce the meat and cause the juices to flow out yielding a dry texture- NOT what you want in fried chicken. Transfer each piece of chicken to the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken once through the baking process. To keep the chicken crispy, place a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and then place the chicken pieces on the cooling rack to drain any excess oil. Season with a light sprinkling of salt all over and serve hot.