13 July 2011

mrs. buttermilk

After my Red Velvet success, I found that I was left with a carton of buttermilk in my fridge and no ideas for what I couldo with it.  It's not the right time of year for soda bread, I haven't been in a pancake mood for awhile, and I certainly wasn't about to go and bake more cakes during this wicked heat wave.  After rattling my brain, I found the answer was right there all along in one of the Sweet Spot's favorite meals - fried chicken!

Fried chicken is one of my all-time favorite foods and a total guilty pleasure.  Ever since I was blessed with the gift of my grandmother's cast iron skillet, I've been attempting to perfect my fried chicken recipe.  I've gotten a little better with each try and this time, I think I finally did it!  After soaking the chicken in a brine of buttermilk and spices, I double battered it in seasoned flour and tossed it in some hot oil to fry up to golden crisp perfection.  I know you're all on the edge of your seats, waiting for me to give you the exact recipe I used, but my sincere apologies because that I cannot share.  Not because it's some new found family secret but because, like all the best fried chicken recipes, it was totally to taste and eyeballed.  But I can tell you what I put in the brine and flour mix so, here you go -

fried chicken brine & cooking instructions
garlic powder
chipotle pepper
cayenne pepper
fresh ground black pepper
fresh ground salt
fresh parsley, chopped
Frank's hot sauce
1. Mix all ingedients together to create a brine.  Let chicken pieces soak overnight in brine.  Remove the chicken and coat with flour mix.  Redip each piece in the buttermilk brine and then dunk in the flour mix again.  
2. Let air dry for about 20-30 minutes. (this was recommended by a few other blogs and recipes I consulted and I found that it led to less splatter and flaking of the batter.)
3.  In about 2" of hot vegetable oil (in your cast iron skillet,) place each piece of chicken and let crisp up until golden brown.  Flip and allow to cook on the other side, about 5 minutes each side.  Be careful not to crowd the chicken by only putting 2-3 pieces in the skillet at a time, depending on the size.

seasoned flour for fried chicken
sifted flour
fresh ground salt and pepper
cayenne pepper
chipotle pepper
garlic powder
cumin (for that smokey flavor, if you like it)

I served this homestyle treat alongside some smokey collared greens, overloaded mashed potatoes, and buttermilk cornbread.  How did I do all that in the short amount of prep time I have after work you ask.  Here's how - Syvia's canned collared greens are almost as good as the fresh ones you get in Harlem.  Jiffy cornbread mix is something I am never without.  Just substitute the milk for buttermilk, add some s&p, a little extra sugar, maybe a teaspoon of oil, and frozen sweet corn, and it tastes 100% homemade!  

The potatoes, well they are homemade.  I had some baby Yukons leftover from my patriotic potato salad and some bacon since, well let's face it, I'm never without bacon.  Cook those up and then mash them up with a little bit of milk and every baked potato topping you could ever imagine - cheese, sour cream, chives, butter, s&p.  I totally thought of my gal Jenessa while I was making these because I knew she'd love them.  She thinks I make the best mashed potatoes in the world; so much so that I even made her a mashed potato birthday cake last year!

jenessa, i miss you!

Supper was ready to begin now!  And it wouldn't be fit to serve up a fried chicken meal on anything other than my pollo loco plate, right?

I sat down with a full plate of home style goodness and a tall glass sweet tea just as I heard a crack of thunder and the skies opened up with a perfect Summer storm.  I couldn't have asked for a better way to end the day.  And what would a good old-fashioned feast like this be without a little Southern Rock?  Well thanks to the awesomeness of Pandora genre stations, that's exactly what was blasted out of my weak little computer speakers every step of the way.  Free bird to fried chicken!

After this success, I think I deserve an extra treat in the form of a new condiment.  And what would go better with fried chicken than Mike's Hot Honey?  Maybe when pay day rolls around.

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