I mentioned fried chicken a couple of entries ago. Here’s how I do it:
- 6 Fresh (not frozen) chicken breast halves
- 1 “tube” of soda crackers
- 1/2 cup white flour
- 1 tbsp Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning.
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- A deep-fryer. I use a “Granpappy” deep fryer, but a Fry-Daddy or fry-baby will work. And yes, so will a skillet.
- Enough crisco to fill the deep-fryer to the fill line, or to fill your skillet to no less than 1.5 inches (4cm) depth.
- A slotted metal spoon. The Fry-Daddy series comes with these. Plastic may melt, so yes, you want metal.
- 3 or 4 big bowls.
- Cut the chicken breast halves into four pieces each, so you’ve got pieces a little larger than fast-food chicken nuggets.
- blend the eggs and milk together in a bowl. Drop the chicken chunks into the bowl and stir.
- In a separate bowl, crush the soda crackers into “chunky powder” such that there are no pieces larger than 1/2cm square. Add the flour and the creole seasoning, and mix until uniform.
- Drop the chicken chunks a few at a time into the breading bowl, and turn them around until they’re covered. We’ve only used two of our bowls. I like to have four — the last two are for staging into and recieving from the fryer.
- Heat the oil to “deep-frying” temperature. I think this is 350F, but I’m not sure. My fryer has only two settings: on, and unplugged.
- Drop the breaded chicken chunks a few at a time into the fryer, taking care not to splatter oil all over yourself. If you do, run the part of you that hurts under cold water, and then be very careful not to shake any of that water into the fry vat, or you’ll just end up splattering again. If you’re cooking with gas, be very, VERY careful not to splatter, as a deep-fryer grease fire over open flame is something of a “worst-case scenario” for kitchen fires. If you burn down your house with this recipe, make sure to have your lawyer read this particular step in its entirety before he accepts your case.
- Cook each batch of chicken for 3 minutes. Given the size of the pieces and the temperature of the oil, this should be perfect for juicy-and-yes-they’re-done nuggets. Paranoid? Go ahead and ruin them by overcooking them. Six minutes will do that.
- I use a wire colander to drain the chicken, so the grease goes back in the fryer. Paper towels in the bowl will work, too.
I developed this recipe based on “what I’ve got in the cupboards.” I have used it three times now, and arrived at the cooking times and the chicken sizes through trial and error. The second batch was PERFECT. The third batch was experimental again — we used boneless thighs instead of breasts, and some of them overcooked (thigh cuts are thinner) while others were gristly (I’m a lazy trimmer).
The crisco in the fryer will end up “tainted” with breading, but it should be good for three dinners’ worth. The nice thing about using a Fry Daddy and Crisco is that when the fryer cools off you can slap a lid on it and stow it at room temperature for days before frying again. The shortening in it will keep just fine, and because it solidifies it won’t spill if it gets knocked over.
I harbor no illusions about this stuff being good for you. I just know it tastes wonderful.