If you are like Kevin and I, we don’t eat as much fried food as we used to. But our love of fried foods still dwells within us! The big difference being, that now, if we are eating something fried, it had better be good! No longer do we settle for mediocre fast food fare to satisfy our cravings (though I will admit to a weakness for the onion rings at Carls Junior lately). Mostly when we want something fried, we want the best darn fried food we can find, and for food snobs like us, that usually means making it at home.
Enter Bon Appetit magazine and their recipe for southern-style fried chicken. Originally published in 2012, I only discovered this recipe last year. (Go ahead and make fun. Food nerds like us are thrilled to have back issues that we can read at our leisure as many times as we like.) The recipe actually calls for the chicken to be fried in oil stove top, so I balked at trying it for a long time. Both Kevin and I, being career insurance people, know very well just how dangerous a pot of hot oil on the stove can be.
However, their claim that this is “the only Fried Chicken recipe we will ever need” had us searching for a good deep fryer at every store we entered for the next 6 months. This is not Canada, and while they are easy to find now, 3 years ago when we started looking, it was like hunting for hens teeth.
We eventually convinced ourselves that we live in a concrete house, with marble counters and finally, we talked ourselves into making this without a deep fryer!! We should have videoed our first attempt, as I am sure all the precautions and worry we took were worth a sit com series but in the end, the finished product was well worth the effort and worry! Juicy inside with a crispy crust, and the hot vinegar pulls it all together.
You will need to start the vinegar a week in advance, and the chicken does have to sit overnight, so there is some planning inovolved, but I promise you it will be worth it! We are used to doing it stove top now, and are happy with the results but if you prefer using a deep fryer, just be sure that your oil is at the magical 350F before adding the chicken. I am sure you will get the same results. The real key to this is to use a smaller chicken and to let it sit in the dry brine over night.
I have tweaked the recipe a bit from the original, which you can find at www.bonappetit.com
Here is my version of Skillet Fried Chicken:
(serves 4, 1 serving is approximately 616 calories)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
5 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 3 – 4 lb chicken cut into 10 pieces, back removed
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 cups flour
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 litre canola oil for deep frying (more or less, depending on size of your pan)