Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Fried Chicken!

“Take your time, and don’t crowd the chicken.”

That was the sum total off all the advice the internet gives on making fried chicken.

“Slow and steady is best. Oh, season the flour.”
That was some of the advice my Mom gave me on the subject.

When I was standing in La Sirena (Dominican Wal-Mart) in front of the chicken with Michelle, I had to decide the kind of chicken I was going to use. According to my mom, “Boneless cooks faster, but bone in is more "authentic" and usually it costs less.” It was decided, if I was going to tackle making fried chicken for the first time, I was going to go cheap and authentic. I decided to purchase one whole chicken. Bones in.

Michelle and I brought home our new bird “friend” and set him on the counter. “Okay Amanda.” I repeated to myself. “Take your time, and DON”T crowd the chicken” He was looking pretty crowded in that package, so I jumped right into Googleing how to cut a whole chicken chopping up that bird.

It didn’t take long for me to decide I knew what I was doing. I’ve seen southern women fry chicken before, and I had been reading up on the process all morning. I was stacked full of advice from my mother, and I had a roommate who believed in me.

As I was cutting up this joker I repeated lines from websites I had read all day so as to appear to know what I was talking about. “The breast should pull away from the rib cage pretty easily.” Also, “The joints are easier to cut than the bone, so you should feel for the sweet spot.” I’m sure I sounded like I’d done this a time or two. Maybe that was the point. I had to psyche myself into knowing how to do this.

When the little guy was cut up I set Michelle to making a liquid sauce while I made the batter mixture. It was a simple flour, salt, pepper, and a little bit o’ chicken seasoning, but I was pretty proud to have done it. Michelle whipped up an egg, milk, and hot sauce mix for the liquid part.

Michelle didn’t know how to make fried chicken, and I was only 86% sure I knew how, so the cooking process was a little scary.

Steps to chicken: 
    1.     Coat in dry batter
    2.     Let the chicken sit   
    3.     Heat oil. Don’t heat it too hot. Try the bread crumb thing.
    4.     Place a few pieces of chicken in the liquid

    5.     Remember not to crowd the chicken
    6.     Coat the liquid guy in the dry batter again

    7.     Remember to take your time

         8.     Drop the chicken slowly into the pan 
    9.     Remember not to crowd the chicken  
    10.  Let the guy cook
    11.  Remember to take your time 

    12.  Consider turning on the show FRIENDS
    13.  Turn on FRIENDS

    14.  Wait a few more minutes 
    15.  Flip the chicken 

    16.  Wait again 
    17.  Find a paper towel

   18.  When the chicken in golden, not burned, and cooked through put in on the towel

Now is about the time we realized the chicken might take a while. I think I knew. I was “taking my time” and I didn’t ever “crowd the chicken”.

We finished the meal off with rice and broccoli, neither of which I cooked. Michelle was a great partner in the cooking experience. We both took on foods we hadn’t ever cooked and it turns out we are pretty skilled. The meal was worth the wait, and for me it was nice to spend way less money on this meal than we typically do going down to the local pica pollo joint.

Now, I was thinking about watching FoodInc tonight, but maybe I hold off on that one until a day when I am not cutting up the breast of a bird. 

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