“Oh, give me a home where the chicken does roam,
Where the drumstick is fried light and crispy divine,
Where my taste buds delight from the sweet, salty brine,
And my heart doth rejoice all day long!”
Poem composed by VKA, sung to the tune of “Home on the Range”
If you know the tune you sang the song, didn’t you? Smile!
This tweaked recipe is in part inspired by the great Miss Edna Lewis.
Come; take a comfortable seat at our cozy table. Dinner is served!
Recipe is for 8 servings (can easily be cut in half to serve 4)
STEPS 1 (brine chicken night/day before):
1/2 gallon full-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup kosher salt or sea salt
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (more or less to personal taste)
1/4 cup golden-brown sugar (packed tight)
1/4 cup honey (raw/wild preferred)
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, stemmed and finely chopped
4 sprigs fresh [stemmed] thyme, finely chopped
1/2 medium red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 ([roughly] 3-pounds) whole chickens, cut into 16 serving pieces (or ready-cut chicken parts)
1. Into a large bowl place all brine ingredients (not the chicken) and mix well to dissolve sugar, honey and salt.
2. Add the chicken, toss well, and allow to marinate in the refrigerator at least overnight, and preferably up to 24 hours.
STEPS 2 (day of cooking):
1½ cups lard
1½ cups peanut oil
1/2 cup (1-stick) unsalted butter
3. Place ingredients (fats) into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot set on the large burner, and slowly, on the medium setting, heat the fats for frying; heat to about 350 to 360 degrees.
Note: When fats are melted, you want to see a depth of about 1-inch.
Brined chicken pieces from steps 1
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups self-rising flour
1½ cups Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons fine salt, (kosher, gray, or sea salts)
2 teaspoons freshly ground tri-color pepper or black pepper
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (optional)
4. Take the bowl of chicken out of the fridge, and setup your workstation.
5. Into a seal-able plastic zip-lock bag (1-2 gallon-size) or large paper bag combine the dry ingredients and mix well; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
6. When the oil is ready, heated to about 350 to 360 degrees, (working in batches) take the chicken pieces out of the buttermilk and into the bag (do not crowd bag with too many pieces) and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Shake off excess flour from the chicken and place on a rack to dry for 10-20 minutes before frying. Please see slide-show for details on frying chicken.
7. Working in batches (do not crowd chicken), carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3-4 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown. Remove the chicken from the oil and place the semi-cooked pieces on clean paper bags (spread open).
Note:Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees before frying each next batch.
8. When all the chicken is fried, take chicken off the paper and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment (for easy clean-up) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink inside.
Enjoy the fried chicken with a meal of mashed potatoes, biscuit and gravy!
Cook with heart; eat with gusto. Buen Provecho!