Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunday #12: Fried Chicken

Let's just get this out of the way:

I set my stove on fire.

If you look under that back burner you can see the flames.

So anyway

Sunday # 12: The Menu

Fried Chicken (I did it Alton Style)
Bacon Balsamic Asparagus
Whipped Red Potatoes
Buttermilk Biscuits

Fried Chicken: 
Alton tells you to cut up a fryer/boiler chicken and drown it in buttermilk for a few hours or a day or something. Whatever, I only read the recipe once.

I didn't want to buy a whole chicken just to take it apart. Plus, they had a package of bone-in chicken breasts with a 30% off sticker on it at the Safeway. I bought that and drowned it in buttermilk.

That's a lot of wasted buttermilk.
What I poured off I saved for
biscuits. I'm a 'waste not
want not' type of girl.

So, after the buttermilk waller the chicken is supposed to drain, except that never really happens. The buttermilk just stays stuck on. This is, apparently, one of the fantastic things about the buttermilk soak because it makes a foundation for the coating. 

So then I sprinkled it with Alton Shake and then dredged it in flour.

Before I got started on handling the chicken I put a pot full of red potatoes to boil on the back burner, and had a castiron pan with an inch or so of Canola oil heating on the burner in front of it. Alton says to use crisco, but I didn't have any. Eff you Alton! 

So anyway, the breasts were so large (how large were they!) I was only able to cook two at a time in my 14 inch castiron skillet. I set the burner behind my chicken pan on fire when oil sloshed out as I added the second piece of chicken.

I kept expecting it to go out, but it just got larger. I was getting ready to take a picture when it occurred to me that I should MOVE THE GIANT PAN FULL OF OIL AWAY FROM THE FIRE. As seen above, I did take pics once everything was safe. You can see the pan of chicken (rapidly losing heat) on the burner behind the blackened pot.

Once the fire alert was over and I got the oil temp back up (thanks the awesome retention process of the castiron, it didn't cool down too much) I started timing the chicken. Alton's directions said to cook these 10-12 minutes per side. I did that and then some given the size of the chicken.

Looks good, right? Yeah, we'll get to that.
It took over an hour to get all of the chicken cooked since I had five pieces and could only cook two at a time. The oil got so gross by the end that the last piece looked like this:


Let's move on.

I scrubbed down some red potatoes and, as mentioned before, set them in a pot to boil. Once they were falling apart I drained them and smooshed them up with the smoosher. Then I added a stick of butter, milk and a blob of sour cream before taking the electric mixer to them.

That's all there is to say about potatoes. I didn't take any pictures because by then I was concentrating on burning the shit out of that last piece of chicken.

Bacon Balsamic Asparagus:
I've made this asparagus so many times. It's one of my favorite ways to have it and has made an asparagus fan out of Mark (next: making him love brussel sprouts.)

I started by cooking 3 pieces of bacon in my skillet. Once those were crisp I moved them to drain on a paper towel and added in prepped asparagus (prepping consisted of rinsing and chopping off the woody ends.) I tossed the spears until they were coated in the grease and then covered until they were a little soft. The asparagus was especially thin and whippy, so that didn't take very long.

Once the asparagus was done I splashed in some balsamic vinegar and a squeeze of lemon. When that was heated through I turned the spears out onto a plate and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan and the crumbled bacon.

I know I've made this same dish before, but as vegetables go it's one of my favorites. Besides, since I never make things exactly the same, this is like a whole new dish!

No pics!

I don't even remember what I did for this beyond adding mayonnaise, cider vinegar, lemon and celery seed to a bag of shredded cabbage. I didn't like it, Mark didn't like it. It sat in the fridge until I decided to toss it. The really sad thing is that as I was dumping it I could smell it and it smelled really good!

No pics!

While I was cooking Mark was out doing something important. I told him to pick up some brown gravy packets because we were going to go all out and be just like KFC. I guess could have had milk gravy, but that goes with breakfast sausage. I don't like sullying it up good breakfast gravy with dinner flavors.

Mark failed and brought home turkey gravy. Gross.

No pics!

Buttermilk Biscuits:
So, if you were paying attention during the chicken part of this you'll remember that I said I'd save the buttermilk that the chicken soaked in.

Seriously? Who would do that? That'd be like saving the dredging flour that you used for the chicken to make biscuits too.

Which I did. Really, any risk of food borne illness is gone once you bake things, so it's not as gross as it sounds.

Mmmm, buttery biscuits.

Oh calm down, I didn't even make biscuits. I was going to (though not with gross chicken bloodied buttermilk.  Hahaha, did you see your face? You were all "what! gross!" neeeeeener) but things got stupid what with the fire and all, and I didn't remember until we were setting the table. Ah well.

How was it?

It looks pretty good, right?

But look closer. Look at the hoarkin size of that chicken. I put it all on the table for pretty picture time, but the plan was for each of use to share one, and save the rest for lunches and what have you.

I forked one, and started to cut the breast away from the bone. 

It was raw. Not just a little raw either, like - completely still cool and raw in the about an inch down. Even the one that was completely blackened was still raw.


So I moved it all from the table and got the meat cut away from the bone. All four pieces were added to the asparagus skillet and we sat there, eating potatoes and what-have-you until they were cooked through.

It was pretty good after that.

If I had to do it over again I suppose I would use a smaller bird. The directions were to use a 5-6 lb chicken but I have no idea what size a chicken the monstrosity these came from were. They were probably crippled chickens scuffling around in their own litter (that's poo to you) due to the size of their giant breasts. And really,  that's how we like them.

I don't even know that getting the broiler chicken that Alton rambles on about would have helped. It still would have had giant boobs and not much in the way of tasty thighs and legs because we that's how the factory grows them.

I could buy a free-ranged nonfreak bird but it runs about double the price. That I could handle, but it's also out of my way to buy free-range chicken because the accessible grocers in the little Walmartified corner of my world don't tend to carry that sort of stuff. Even my Safeway has stopped carrying whole chickens for their Open Nature line, and the quality of those birds was questionable to begin with.

But you know who'd be willing to deliver one along with a box full of organic fruit and veggies?

So that's something I may need to consider adding sometime soon, maybe there will be a taste test!
Better than that though, I need to find a butcher that I'm comfortable with. I keep researching,but I worry that everyone is lying to me to get me to buy their product. Surely someone out in my area has to be telling the truth.


Anyway, that was dinner. It would have been awesome, except for it wasn't.

No, Simon, thumbs down.

Next week: Not nearly as much talk about large breasts


  1. Do you want me to send you real directions on how to fry chicken?!

  2. I've made it a general rule that I don't fry and you're not encouraging me to start. I shouldn't be allowed access to more than one or two pieces of fried chicken at a time anyway. Roasting halved Brussels Sprouts is the way to go, though my nephew swears by shredding and sauteeing.

  3. The whole thing was a funny read, but this was my favorite line:

    "Whatever, I only read the recipe once."

    Also, love the discussion of freak chickens. Just wish you weren't completely right.

  4. I hate frying chicken, it's a pain in the ass and it takes forever. I've only tried it once- I was home visiting my family- and I had to call Brandon for help. Thank God I married a southern boy- from now on I'll leave the fried chicken to him.

  5. First of all, I will admit that I have never been able to successfully fry chicken on a bone. It always comes out raw, and nasty. Unboneless chicken is disgusting. I use boneless breasts or, even better, the breast strips.

    Mix buttermilk and most of a bottle of hot sauce (I prefer Texas Pete or Frank's)to taste. Soak the chicken for several hours, up to overnight. I have better luck using my electric skillet than a stove top one. Pour about an inch of oil, with the skillet on 350. In the meantime, mix some salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt though) in the flour, I usually throw in a dash of garlic salt and some curry. Dredge the chicken through it. For extra crispy, re-dip in butter milk and roll in the flour a second time. Fry the hell out of it, turning obsessively. For a good measure, slice open the fattest piece when you think it's done and check for pinkness. Then cook some more, even if it looks done. I am deathly afraid of raw chicken :P

  6. Oooh, I really like the idea of adding Frank's to the buttermilk.

    I dunno if I'll ever bother pan frying again. I've had the same problem with electric skillets before.

    And thigh and leg meat is awesome, what's wrong with you?

    If I fry again, it'll be in a giant vat of oil. Screw this flipping obsessivly crap, it just leaves me with burnt chicken.

    With non-battered chicken/pork/etc I usually do cut into it to check for done-ness. I figured that these were cooked much longer than recommended and one side of each were close to or in fact burnt.

  7. As a thought here... How long did we have these monster breasts out of the fridge before we tried to fry them? Maybe it was just because the core of the meat was still icy cold when they went in? In any event your spices made for some tasty crust. We'll do it again and crush it next time.

  8. Wow, I ignored you a long time on this one.

    They were pulled and sitting around on the counter for a good half hour before they went in. I could see them being a little raw after 1/2 hour on the counter and then 1/2 hour in the skillet but as raw as they were? Yuck.

    At the very least they should have been cooked enough to look done, but still give us horrible diarrhea.