The crime: Stolen pieces of fried chickeny goodness (See below for the meal in its pristine state)
The victim: ME!!!!!
The culprit: Muffin!
The motive: This chicken was totally Muffin (and Mama!) Approved!
Okay, enough of the drama (but I’m still missing my chicken!). On Tuesday, when I was supposed to make the sesame chicken (yup, it got delayed again), I realized that I didn’t have chicken thighs. I thought, that’s okay. I’ll go ahead and make it with chicken breasts.
Then, I couldn’t find the sesame oil. You aren’t going to get too far with sesame chicken without sesame oil. I have since found the sesame oil, but that was after I had already started making another chicken recipe, Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken from A Bountiful Kitchen.
Now, I have made fried chicken before. It’s a pain in the proverbial neck. Alton Brown’s fried chicken from the Fry Hard 2: The Chicken episode of Good Eats is my gold standard. If you want to go through the entire process, that’s the one you should use. Or Pioneer Woman’s.
But things like “Is the chicken done around the bone?” tend to worry me, exceedingly so. As a result, I tend to shy away from southern fried chicken unless it can be purchased in a bucket or a bag.
I know that I’m committing Southern Sacrilege by saying that, but there it is.
When I found that recipe at A Bountiful Kitchen, I was intrigued because it uses boneless skinless chicken breasts and has finite amounts of time that the chicken sits in the oil on each side (I will probably lessen the amount of time next time because mine got a bit too caramelized, even at a lower temperature).
That’s how it ended up on the menu…for Saturday.
But, it was really the only option as a stand in when, at 1:30, I couldn’t find the sesame oil. It was too late to thaw the pork chops for the Crock Pot Ranch Pork Chops, and too late to start the pizza pasta dish (or the other slow cooker dish for the week). And I really am planning on making the cornbread in advance for the cornbread chicken casserole.
That left the fried chicken. Luckily, we had plenty of mashed taters left over from Monday night. I decided to make brown gravy using a mix (Yes, I know, but I was so frustrated for having to change the menu at that point) and some green beans. I wouldn’t be able to let the chicken soak in the buttermilk mixture as long as I wanted to.
Next time I will soak it overnight so that it can be affected by all of that yumminess.
I pretty much followed the recipe exactly, other than shading off some of the time. The reason was my fault, of course. I divided my breasts in half lengthwise, and I’m not great at dividing them evenly.
I kept my stove a shade cooler, too, setting 6 instead of between the 7 and 8 for medium-high. My stove tends to run fairly hot, though.
Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Adapted Pretty Closely from A Bountiful Kitchen
2 1/2 cups milk
roughly 3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or another Louisiana-style variety (I would think Tabasco too hot and thin for this recipe)
2 large (humongous) chicken breasts, divided into two-three pieces each
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon or so salt, to taste
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I actually used closer to a half, and no one was the wiser)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil with a smattering of bacon grease)
In a four-cup measuring cup (think Pyrex! or Oxo) pour the milk and vinegar. Whisk. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Whisk again. You’ve just made buttermilk!
Add in the pepper sauce and stir to combine.
Place chicken pieces in the mixture, cover, and place in the fridge at least one hour (but hopefully overnight!).
When ready to fry, pour the oil in the pan.
Mix up the flour, pepper, cayenne, and salt in a gallon-size zip-top baggie. Resist the extremely overwhelming urge to add anything (such as Dash or Montreal Chicken Seasoning) to the mix. Seriously. Resist. Consider this Southern Rocket Science. Or at least Southern Fried Chicken Science.
Heat the oil until it’s hot on medium-medium-high heat (Setting 6 on a 10 setting system). Don’t pour a cup of water in it to test. I’ve never done that, but I’m pretty sure that’s not a good idea. Then, the Southern Fried Chicken Science may become Southern Rocket Science entirely on accident.
Instead, to test, add a cube of bread. If it browns delightfully without immediately burning, the oil is ready. If not, wait or adjust accordingly.
Shake the chicken, a few pieces at a time, in the flour baggie.
Add the chicken, as many pieces that will fit with a half-inch apart, to the pan. Fry 6-7 minutes on the first side. Leave the chicken alone! Do not poke, prod, turn, or anything else the chicken during that time. Turn the chicken. Repeat.
Evacuate the new golden brown deliciousness to a paper-towel-lined plate. Note: I know that there are people who hotly contest the evacuation resting place. I cannot bring myself to try newsprint. I’m not going to fry-grease pollute my cooling racks. Paper towels is how I was raised, and paper towels it will be.
Repeat as necessary with the remaining chicken. If it’s going to be a while while the rest of it finishes, you may keep it in a warm (200 degree) oven. Our first pieces were still rocket hot when the last ones finished.
Serve with appropriate sides.
Verdict: Muffin ate his piece of chicken, most of his taters, and a smattering of green beans. Then, he started begging for my chicken.
He took my chicken!!!!
And, in doing so, asked me at least five times to make the chicken again.
Did I mention that he took my chicken?!?!
The one thing this recipe was missing? Greens! Oh, well, I guess that’s for next time.