Friday, January 6, 2012

Cider-Brined Fried Chicken

How about a really, really good Cider-Brined Fried Chicken for dinner? This past week, I had no intention of making fried chicken. In fact, I hadn't thought of fried chicken in a very long time -- weeks. But once a good friend from New York mentioned that she was having fried chicken and collard greens for dinner, all of a sudden I HAD to have fried chicken.
I immediately got to work on finding a recipe -- asked a couple of friends about their favorites. It was recommended that I use Sunny Anderson's (Food Nework) recipe called ... you guessed it ... Cider-Brined Fried Chicken. Next I knew, I was leaving work at 5pm, heading to Whole Foods and getting all the necessary - all-natural and organic - ingredients.

I brined the chicken in salt, water and cider for 1 hour, in the refrigerator. This was my first time doing a brine, and it definitely won't be the last. The tenderness and juiciness of the chicken was AMAZING! I'm still shocked. And the cider wasn't strong at all. It was a nice addition.
So the first order of business was the brine.
After an hour of sitting in the refrigerator, I mixed together cayenne pepper (only use cayenne if you enjoy a good kick to your fried chicken),2 eggs and black pepper.

I coated the chicken pieces (1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces) in the mixture.
After coating in the liquid mixture, I added 1 chicken piece at a time to a brown bag mixture of corn starch and all-purpose flour.

Apparently, corn starch is the main ingredient to crispy chicken. Who knew? Not me. :) I've made fried chicken before - months ago - and never used corn starch. There is a definite difference.
After coating the chicken pieces in the wet and dry mixture, they should sit for about 10 minutes (I'm guessing, to make sure the coating sticks).

After 10 minutes, I added the chicken (3 at a time - it's important to not crowd the pot) to the dutch oven with very hot (300 degrees or more), melted vegetable shortening.

I used a tub's worth, which melted to an inch and a half deep in the dutch oven.
The frying takes about 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
The result was a beautiful golden brown. A-MAZING and crazy delicious! Crazy!

Along with the fried chicken, we had a mixture of kale and spinach, with a side of delicious mac and cheese from Whole Foods. Cheesy goodness!


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