Thursday, September 30, 2010

"1,2,3,4. Can I Have A Little More?"

A few classes ago at Tech Center, Chef Kimmel taught us how to cut a whole chicken into 8 pieces-two breasts, two wings, two thighs, two drumsticks-it was far from glamorous.

A video to help explain [not mine of course]:

First things first, wash your hands, then rinse and dry the chicken [carry the chicken in a bowl so it doesn't drip and cross-contaminate everything withe salmonella.] Place the chicken breast side up on a plastic cutting board, never use a wood cutting board when handling raw meat, it absorbs the bacteria. Pull one of the legs away from the body and slice through the skin between the body and the sides of the thighs. Bend the whole leg away from the body until the hip bone pops from its socket- cut between the ball and socket to sever the leg. Repeat on the other side.

Once the legs are separated divide them into the and thigh. Do this by cutting through the joint of the drumstick and thigh.Repeat with other leg. Now you have your two thighs and drumsticks.

Now you need to get the wings off that bad boy! Pull the wing away from the body and slice diagonally 1" away form where the wing joint meets the body. Cut off the tip of the wing-save for making stock or throw it out. Repeat with the second wing.

Last but not least: getting the breast off the chicken. Set the chicken up vertically, so you can look down the neck cavity, and cut down through the shoulder bones to detach the back from the breast. You can save the backbone for a stock, eat the meat if you want, or just dump it. Once the breast is by itself cut it in two down the length of the breastbone.

Viola! a whole chicken divided into eight pieces. You can leave the skin on or take it off, its up to your personal preference, I usually take it off except for when i fry it.

Which reminds me, after we divided up our chickens, Chef Kimmel let us decide how to prepare our pieces. I chose to fry it, mainly because I am fried chicken champion, in the words of Chef, I "knocked Colonel Sanders out of the park," I was most pleased.

The breading was a crispy golden brown crafted with a perfect Melody of flavors, the chicken was tender and juicy, the ideal tasting conditions.

Southern Fried Chicken:
-8 pieces of chicken, skin on, [breasts each cut in half]
-2 eggs
-3-4 c. buttermilk
-1 tsp. liquid smoke
-6-8 c. flour
-3 tbs. dried rosemary
-2 tbs. paprika
-1 tbs. seasoned salt
-1/2 tbs. cayenne pepper
-2 tsp pepper
-Vegetable or soy oil for frying

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and liquid smoke. Set aside. In yet another medium bowl, combine the flour and seasonings. Take one piece of chicken, dip in flour, then buttermilk mixture, then dredge in flour, dip in buttermilk mixture again, then the flour again. This creates a nice breading on the chicken and dredge multiple times builds the potential crispness off the skin. Repeat with each piece of chicken, If more buttermilk mixture is need combine 1 egg and 1 cup buttermilk. For more flour combine another cup of flour with 2 tsp. rosemary, paprika, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper.

Pour about 4" of oil into a large saute pan or pot with high sides. Heat the oil on medium heat. To check if the oil is ready, stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil, if it bubbles all around it then its time to fry! Fit as many pieces in at a time as you can, make sure its not too crowded though. The biggest piece, usually the thigh, will obviously take longer to fry than the others, it should take around 20-24 mins. 10-12 each side. The pieces should be a delectable dark golden brown. If you are paranoid about it being done, check the internal temperature, 165 degrees is the safe zone.

Put on a plate, serve with biscuits, gravy,potatoes, etc. etc.


[Beatles Lyrics For Title]

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