Fry-Bake IT Chicken Two Ways

I must sound like a broken record. “I have been unhappy with my _____for years. Finally I’ve found the right _______. Well, welcome to cooking. We are never satisfied until it’s perfect. For us, that is. Maybe not for you. That’s what makes cooking shows.

Fried chicken. So simple. Yet, I could cry me a river over all the lousy chicken I’ve fried. Fried to hard and the crust turns nearly black, then turn it down and it lays in a bath of oil that no amount of towelling can absorb. And then the crust turns to mush. and then you bite in, and see all this awful redness at the bone.

 It was always some combination of the above. And I wondered if I would ever make a decent fried chicken. And then.

And then.

And then I came up with this method. And I am most sure I didn’t think of it, but I’m not sure who did, but I thank them profusely. For now my husband says that I make the best fried chicken he’s ever eaten. And that means I beat Aunt Lucille, who was dead long before I ever came to Troy.

It’s not about the types of pieces, or the herbs and spices you choose. It’s all about the technique. So pay attention.

INGREDIENTS:

  • The chicken pieces (any type you like, but to the degree you stay with the same “type”, i.e. wings to wings, or thighs to thighs, you will find everything cooks out together. Just that warning. Do as you wish. If you choose breasts, I recommend you brine them for about 3 hours before preparing to fry. (makes ’em much juicier)
  • salt, pepper, and whatever else you like, onion and garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, oregano. Whatever you like.
  • flour for dredging, 1 c with 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg beat with 1 tbsp water (or two if you are doing more than say 6 pieces)
  • Panko crumbs or other breadcrumbs for method II of coating.
  • 1-2 c of canola oil for frying.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dry the chicken pieces. This is very important to make everything stick.
  2. Season with the herbs and spices you have chosen.
  3. Set up work stations: a shallow dish for the flour, a shallow dish for the beaten egg, and a shallow dish for the crumbs if using.
  4. Set up a cooling rack. And start you oil heating up in a pan. (cast iron is perfect)
  5. Lightly dust a piece of chicken in the flour, and then dunk in the egg and coat on both sides, then back into the flour for a good dousing. (*Note: if using the breadcrumbs, then after the egg wash, go into the crumbs, pressing in on both sides.)
  6. Place the coated piece on the rack, and go on to finish all the pieces.
  7. LET THEM SET FOR 10 MINUTES to dry. This is very important to keeping your coating on in the fry pan.
  8. The temperature of your oil is not critical since you are not cooking to doneness. The oil should crackle when hit with a drop of water, and you want the chicken to bubble up nicely when you place them in. So place all the pieces in, or as many as you can without touching each other.
  9. Cook on one side until nicely browned, and then turn and do the other the same. While the chicken is frying, get a jelly roll pan and line with parchment or foil and place the rack in it. As each piece is browned, remove to the rack. Turn the oven on to 425°.
  10. When all are on the rack, place in the oven. For wings, about 20 minutes should suffice. For thighs, about 30. If you are doing different pieces, check and remove as they are done. Forty minutes should be the longest you would need.
  11. Place on a serving platter and set on the table. No need to lay on towelling. All the grease has dripped onto the jelly roll pan.

Portabellas Stuffed to the Gills

I fixed these today.

We really liked them.

The recipe comes from Justapinch’s, Samantha Knight.

The only thing I changed, is that I didn’t have kielbasa so I used 8 smokey links. And I cut the recipe in half using 6 baby portabellas.

In the future, I would use only the large portabellas, just for ease of stuffing reasons. One is plenty per person.

I can’t see this as an appetizer. You need a fork!  We had them with homemade onion rings and were stuffed with three of the baby portabellas a piece.

This is the kind of recipe you can just play with endlessly, adding different kinds of cheeses, seafood, and bits and pieces of this and that. It will always keep this wonderful recipe fresh.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 med portabella baby mushrooms or use large ones (stems removed)
  • 1/3 c sliced roasted peppers (pat them dry first if using jarred)
  • 3/4 c parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c shredded cheese (your choice. I used cheddar because I had it on hand, but mozzarella, smoked gouda would be good choices or swiss, Monterey Jack, etc.)
  • 1/2 c diced kielbasa sausage (flavor up to you)
  • salt and pepper
  • a dash of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • olive oil for brushing the mushrooms to keep them from sticking
  • 1/3 c breadcrumbs (fresh or panko)
  • 3 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces, fried until crisp and drained on towelling.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients except the last two. (I did this early and put it in the fridge until ready.)
  2. Brush your mushroom caps with oil and place them in a foil lined pan. (Close together helps to hold the filling in)
  3. Fill the caps with the filling. Top with the breadcrumbs.
  4. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes. If the mushrooms start weeping water, they are done!
  5. Add the bacon on top and just warm up the bacon for a couple of minutes.S

Serves: 4  

Treasure Hunt Mash Potatoes

I love potatoes.

I love mashed potatoes.

I get tired of mashed potatoes with gravy or with just butter.

The PioneerWoman gave me the ingredients for this.

The amounts are not so important.  Fudge it around depending on how many you are serving. Leftovers here are good, but the treasures may soften up on ya, so I’d say it’s best eaten up!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 med-lg russet potatoes, peeled and cut up for boiling.
  • 1/3 stick butter
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 6 slices bacon, cut up in 1/2″ pieces and cooked until crisp, drained.
  • 4-5 scallions chopped with some of the green parts
  • 2/3 c French’s fried onions (or other similar brand)
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil the potatoes until fork tender, drain.
  2. Add the butter and cream and mash.
  3. Add the scallions and bacon, stirring just to incorporate.
  4. Place in serving bowl and sprinkle all over with the fried onions.

Serves: 3-4

Basic Southern Biscuits

I grew up with the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

That is not a good thing.

I hated biscuits. I considered them dry and tasteless.

I grew up.

I grew out. Skip that part.

I discovered cooking.

I made my own biscuits one day,  just to see.

And I was amazed. They were delicious. They were sublime. The Dough Boy had been holding out on me all those years.

This is what biscuits taste like! Try ’em. They don’t take nearly the time you think.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 oz (about a TBSP of vegetable shortening
  • 2 oz (about 2 TBSP of butter – cold)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. Cut in the shortening and the butter with a pastry cutter or use your fingers to smunch it around.
  3. Add the buttermilk and stir (or do as I do and use your fingers to push the flour into the milk) just until the buttermilk is no longer running around in the bowl. (meaning don’t mix it much)
  4. Turn it out in globs onto a floured surface and fold it on itself a few times until it appears one mass.
  5. Press it out with your hands into about a half-inch high round or rectangle or something in between. (are you getting that this is not rocket science? No need to roll it out with a pin.)
  6. Using a biscuit cutter or glass that has  . And then free form the last one.
  7. Place on a shortening greased cookie sheet. Place the rounds just barely touching. This allows them to climb on each other and grow taller, which makes them flakier.
  8. Place in a 450° pre-heated oven for 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned.
  9. Enjoy.

Serves: usually 12 biscuits

Fusion Chicken-Corn Chowder

I am a good soup maker. I’m not sure what that means, since soup is fairly forgiving. Amounts are not set in stone. You can add or subtract a lot.

Still, after trying to find the “perfect” chicken-corn chowder, I thought about something Rachael said, and something Alton taught, and a couple of things from Justapinch, and then I let my mind roam around and mixed it all up.

And I fixed it.

And he ate it.

And he pronounced it “Good!”

This recipe is strange, and combines visions of East-West, North-South. And it ain’t bad I tell ya. You could do a lot worse!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4-6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 lg leek
  • 1 lg carrot
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 2 jalapeños, diced (with or without the seeds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1 tsp salt (less if you use salted stock)
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp thyme (dried) if fresh, about 2 tbsp.
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 2 slices of orange peel, minced (about 1 1/2 tbsp)
  • 3 c corn
  • 2/3 c cream
  • About 3 cups cooked noodles

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a soup pot, saute the bacon until fat rendered and the bacon is crispy
  2. Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides. (I use thighs because we like them, the debone easily once cooked, and the dark meat gives up more flavor)
  3. Remove the chicken and add the leeks, carrot, celery, and jalapeño. Saute until softened.
  4. Add the herbs and spices and then the stock. Add  the chicken and orange zest.
  5. Simmer until meat is done, about 40-45 minutes.
  6. Remove the meat to a separate dish to cool. Typically I make my soups in the morning, so I just turn it off, cover and let it sit until ready to finish it off near meal time.
  7. Take the meat off the bone and chop.
  8. Cook the noodles and drain.
  9. Either use an immersion blender, a food processor, or blender, whir up the soup base until fairly smooth. Add the corn. (I don’t whir up the corn, because the husks don’t break up and it makes for an unpleasant texture I find, so I add the corn at the end and leave it whole.
  10. Add the cream and stir. Add the chicken. Add the noodles.  Heat to serve.

Serves: about 6

Mangia Tutto Chicken Parmesan

If you’ve looked over many of my recipes, you will see that I don’t mess a lot with ingredients from the standard recipe, but I’ve learned what I think are better ways of cooking. Ways that maintain or enhance the strengths of the different parts.

That is the case here.

It’s not so much that the recipe is different, but that it’s made differently and thus presents a better product at the end.

I do not recommend using a commercial Marinara sauce, but that is your choice. Your own or mine is much better.

This serves up well with the usual lovely salad with a light lemon vinaigrette and some great chewy cheese.

So, Eat up!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups spaghetti sauce. Mine can be found at Not Quite Your Wise Guys Spaghetti Sauce.
  • 1 chicken breast, deboned, skinned, and pounded to about 1/4 inch. Cut into 4-6 pieces
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • flour for dredging
  • 1 egg, scrambled with 1 tbsp water (the water breaks the white membrane and allows it to mix together)
  • 2/3 c parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1-1 1/2 c panko or other breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lb of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 lb cooked pasta such as linguine or spaghetti.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat the marinara sauce.
  2. Pat dry the chicken pieces (don’t neglect this!) Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and oregano, dredge in the flour lay the egg wash, then in the parmesan, turning once, then into the breadcrumbs. Heap crumbs over the top, press down firmly, turn and press again.
  3. Place each piece on a wire rack until all are done.
  4. Heat the oil in a saute pan. Place chicken pieces in, not crowding. Brown on one side, and then turn and brown the other. Remove to the wire rack.
  5. When all are finished, place the wire rack into a parchment lined jelly roll pan and place in a pre-heated 425° for about 20 minutes or until done. Turn off the oven.
  6. Remove the pan to the top of the stove and place a slice of fresh mozzarella on each piece. Return to oven and let sit until melted.
  7. Cook pasta, add a drizzle of olive oil when drained and some parsley and place in serving dish.
  8. Bring the chicken on a platter and the sauce in a bowl with a ladle.
  9. Place some pasta on the serving dish, add a piece of the chicken, and ladle sauce over all. Grind some parmesan over all.

*Note: the point of the cooking on a rack in the oven is to keep the chicken nice and crispy. If the chicken is fried to the end, it either gets too dark or gets soggy in the oil as the juices run. If baked in the sauce, the breading is just mush. Hope you like this version!

 

Wacka-Mole Taters

Ahh, the lowly potato. Maligned yet the staple of so many meals. I mean some folks demand potatoes or it ain’t a meal!

So, in the constant push to find “another” way to make potatoes, I saw this on Cook’s Test Kitchen.

It’s simple. It’s rustic.

It’s good.

The picture at left suggests that they are finished in a saute pan on the stove. Actually it’s far easier to do them under the broiler. But either way works.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 new potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Wash your potatoes and place in a plastic bag. Drizzle with the canola oil and massage until potatoes are coated.
  2. Turn out onto a parchment-lined jelly roll and roast in a 425° for about 40 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Remove pan from the oven and move all but one potato to one end.
  4. Take a small sauce pan and press down on the potato until it gives in and squashes. Do this until all are squashed, keeping them apart from each other.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Place back in the oven under broil, and broil until edges are crispy and the open potato is just starting to brown.

Serves: 3 (assuming 2 per person)