Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sasha's Kitchen: Ad Hoc's Buttermilk Fried Chicken & A Fresh Direct Promotion

As you may know by now, I am a big fan of Thomas Keller.  Even I don't have the time to explore the recipes in his French Laundry Cookbook, though. They are just too involved and complex for normal home cooking, although I am sure the result is phenomenal. But his cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home, I simply love and have really enjoyed cooking his recipes which are intended to be suited to a skilled home cook.  My husband Brad and I recently tried out his buttermilk fried chicken recipe which was simply delicious.  Ok, so fried chicken is not healthy enough to eat regularly (and it is something I rarely eat), but I did fry it in Canola Oil, and the result was an enjoyable treat.

Keller uses whole chickens in his recipe, which calls for two 2 1/2 to 3 pound chickens.  I made this recipe, but I only used one three pound chicken.  In addition, Keller gives detailed instructions for cutting the chicken into either an eight piece or ten piece cut.  While this is useful to know how to do, I used Fresh Direct and ordered one three pound chicken cut into eight pieces, which was perfect. This is what I recommend. I am writing up the full recipe below, as per Keller, but keep in mind that I cut all of the proportions in half.

Thomas Keller's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
two 2 1/2 to 3 lb chickens, cut into 8 pieces
chicken brine (cold)
6 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1 T plus 1 tsp paprika
1 T plus 1 tsp cayenne
1 T plus 1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 quart of buttermilk

Chicken Brine
5 lemons, halved
12 bay leaves
1 bunch parley
1 bunch thyme
1/2 cup clover honey
1 head garlic
1/4 cup black peppercorns
2 cups salt
2 gallons water

Brine the chicken as Keller recommends for 12 hours in the herb-lemon chicken brine, which seasons the meat and helps the chicken remain juicy throughout the frying process.

Prepare the flour seasoning mixture and use it to coat the pieces of chicken. Then dip in the buttermilk and re-dip in a second bowl with the other half of the flour seasoning.

To fry, I used a technique slightly different than Keller's technique but it worked beautifully. I used my hot pot/deep fryer and filled 1/3 full with canola oil.  I set the temperature to 320 degrees and fried each piece of chicken for between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on the size of the piece of chicken. When done. the chicken should be deep golden.

On the Fresh Direct promotion, use the code SUPPORTLOCAL to save 20% on Fresh Direct's local produce from local markets in the new york area, which you can read about and order on Fresh Direct. These local offerings are a great way to support local farmers and use farm-to-table produce in your kitchen. This is a limited time offer. Expires August 31, 2010. May not be combined with any other offer. All standard terms and conditions apply. Limit one use per customer/account. Residential orders only. Void where prohibited. Offer is non-transferable.

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