Tuesday, June 12, 2012

fried chicken

What better thing to come back with?
See how pretty? :D

This is really simple, it's just that I've never really done this before, and certainly not on my own, so i'm rather proud of how well it turned out...

-Cut a chicken breast into small, bite-sized pieces, no thicker than an inch.
-Take an egg and beat it lightly in a small bowl.
-In a separate bowl, crush crackers (my friends use ritz crackers, which I have to say make amazing fry breading) into a rough meal. You really don't want any pieces big enough to be recognized as crackers, but you don't want a powder. Think about the breading on chicken nuggets.
-In a frying pan, heat about a half inch of oil (I just used plain vegetable oil)
-Have a plate covered with a paper towel close at hand to receive the fried chicken as you pull it from the hot oil. The paper towel will soak up any excess oil, keeping the breading from soaking it up as it cools and getting soggy.
-Dip the chicken pieces into the egg, making sure to cover it thoroughly but not enough to drip all over.
-Roll the egg-y chicken pieces in the cracker crumbs.
-Carefully arrange the chicken in the hot oil (you should hear it start to sizzle gently immediately)
-You'll be able to see around the edges as the breading starts to brown. When those edges appear a nice dark gold, turn the chicken over to cook the other side.
-You're looking for the same thing, when that lower edge starts to turn dark gold, you should be good to pull them out. The sizzling also gets markedly louder as the chicken is closer to done.
---ALWAYS pull the thickest piece from the batch and cut it open at the thickest point. If there is any pink showing you'll want to check the other thicker pieces and put the unfinished ones back in the oil for a few more moments. There's not usually a high risk of food poisoning, but you really don't want to deal with it yourself, and you don't want your cooking to be the reason someone else gets sick.

Now, the actual creative thing I tried, that in my humble opinion was a rousing success, were the hush-puppies- 

 (sorry for the change in color balance here. My camera was dying as I took these so I couldn't re-shoot... and I was huuuuungry)
The story behind hush-puppies is that dog owners, wanting to protect their own dinner from the encroaching hordes at dinner time, would take the leftover batter, roll it into balls, and fry it in the same oil as the meat so that it smelled and tasted like whatever had been fried that day, (I've only had them with catfish, and I highly recommend that) and toss those to the dogs to quiet them. Hence the name.

So, when you're done frying your chicken, you take your leftover egg and start pouring it into your leftover cracker crumbs (I have to say again that the ritz crackers worked brilliantly). Kind of mash them together until you have a batter that will hold itself in loose blobby balls. Then, toss them in the still-hot oil, and turn them over every couple minutes until they're a dark golden brown all the way around. They'll have an almost cake-y texture in the middle and be wonderfully crispy on the outside.
So what I needed today :D

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