Double Crunchy Winter Supper

My husband G. Grod’s mother grew up in SC, and he recently had a craving for fried chicken. I unearthed the can of Crisco and candy thermometer we bought the last time we made fried chicken , which was five years ago, I think.

To offset the hardly heart healthy Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken from Cook’s Country, I got some purple cabbage and made Crunchy Cabbage Slaw from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking:

Crunchy Chicken and Slaw

Extra-Crunchy Fried Chicken, from Cook’s Country

Keeping the oil at the correct temperature is essential to producing crunchy fried chicken that is neither too brown nor too greasy. Use a candy/deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature of the oil before you add the chicken (see related testing). If you cannot find a chicken that weighs 3 1/2 pounds or less, or if you don’t have a pan that is 11 inches in diameter, you will have to fry the chicken in two batches. Follow the recipe, frying the chicken four pieces at a time and keeping the first batch warm in a 200-degree oven while the second batch is cooking. If you want to produce a slightly healthier version of this recipe, you can remove the skin from the chicken before soaking it in the buttermilk. The chicken will be slightly less crunchy.

Serves 4
2 cups buttermilk plus 6 additional tablespoons
2 tablespoons table salt
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, giblets discarded, wings & back reserved for stock
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4-5 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil

1. Whisk together 2 cups buttermilk and salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add chicken pieces to bowl and stir to coat; cover bowl with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Don’t let chicken soak much longer or it will become too salty.)

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, thyme, pepper, and garlic powder together in large bowl. Add remaining 6 tablespoons buttermilk; with your fingers rub flour and buttermilk together until buttermilk is evenly incorporated into flour and mixture resembles coarse wet sand.

3. Working in batches of two, drop chicken pieces into flour mixture and turn to thoroughly coat, gently pressing flour mixture onto chicken. Shake excess flour from each piece of chicken and transfer to wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet.

4. Heat oil (it should measure 3/4 inch deep) in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven with 11-inch diameter over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces, skin-side down, in oil, cover, and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove lid after 4 minutes and lift chicken pieces to check for even browning; rearrange if some pieces are browning faster than others. (At this point, oil should be about 300 degrees. Adjust burner, if necessary, to regulate temperature of oil.) Turn chicken pieces over and continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken pieces are deep golden brown on second side, 6 to 8 minutes longer. (At this point, to keep chicken from browning too quickly, adjust burner to maintain oil temperature of about 315 degrees.) Using tongs, transfer chicken to plate lined with paper towels; let stand for 5 minutes to drain. Serve.

Crunchy Slaw Salad from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, serves 4-6

2 Tbl. apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil
splash of heavy cream

1 extra-crisp apple, peeled and cored
1 big squeeze of lemon juice
1 small cabbage, pref. savoy
1 c. toasted walnuts

Whisk apple cider and lemon juice together in small bowl, season with salt and pepper, then whisk in olive oil followed by cream. Set aside.

Shred apple on large holds of box grater, or use grater attachment on food processor, then put shreds in bowl of cold water with the squeeze of lemon; this will prevent browning. Cut cabbage into quarters and core each section, then cut into a very fine chiffonade. Just before serving, drain apples and toss with cabbage, walnuts and dressing in large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.

One Response to “Double Crunchy Winter Supper”

  1. Heide M. Says:

    This sounds so great.