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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Three kinds of twice-fried chicken [Stomachs Eleven]

Fried chicken

Sure we all know that food shouldn't be used as an emotional crutch, but is there any problem that fried chicken can't fix? Even before we'd stepped onto the path leading to Pigflyin's front door, our hearts were aflutter with the promise of what lay ahead: a night of homemade fried chicken. Arteries be damned. 

Brined floured chicken ready for frying
Brined chicken dusted with seasoned flour

Skillet corn bread with chicken fat
Skillet corn bread with chicken fat

First fry of the fried chicken
First fry of the fried chicken

Bourbon and maple syrup glazed home-cured home-smoked bacon
Home-cured home-smoked bacon glazed with bourbon and maple syrup

The kitchen is always the best place to hang out, especially for secret chef's treats, like the molten maple syrup toffee rescued from the bottom of a tray, mingled with smoky bacon fat and as sweet as candy. Pigflyin had cured and cold-smoked his own slab of bacon a week ago. The last few pieces were glazed with bourbon and maple syrup and baked in the oven at a low temperature for several hours.

Bourbon and maple syrup glazed home-cured home-smoked bacon with cornbread
Bourbon and maple syrup glazed hom-cured home-smoked bacon with cornbread

The result was slabs of fatty pork with the sweet caramelisation of Chinese barbecue char siu pork, soft and unctuous flesh, ribbons of melting fat and a persistent beguiling smokiness with every bite.

There was cornbread too, made with chicken fat for extra flavour, although its exit from the skillet was less graceful than hoped.

Homemade pickled watermelon rind
Homemade pickled watermelon rind

And on the side, we had homemade pickled watermelon rind. This one had been pickled for some time which gave it a softer texture, but shorter pickling will ensure a greater crunch.

Southern-style double-fried chicken marinated in kefir
Fried chicken #1: brined with Southern spices, marinated in kefir, floured and double-fried

And then the fried chicken bonanza! Fried chicken number one was Southern-style, brined with a mix of oregano, garlic, paprika, fennel and chilli powder, then marinated in kefir instead of the usual buttermilk. The chicken was dusted in a mix of flour and trisol for extra crunch.

Each chicken was double-fried tonight, the first fry done at about 170C, the second one at 210C. Pigflyin used rice brain oil mixed with goose fat and lard because you know, FLAVOUR. The use of lard also encourages rapid browning.

The crunch on this was incredible, and you could really taste the paprika in the batter. The pieces were all chopped quite small which meant a very amenable batter to flesh ratio.

Double-fried brined cold-smoked chicken
Fried chicken #2: Brined, cold-smoked with apple wood, floured and double-fried

Fried chicken number two was immediately different upon first bite. This version involved brining then drying and cold-smoking with apple wood. There's a heavier intensity to the chicken, deeply embedded with smoke, capped off with the ear-splintering crunch of its golden crust.

Double-fried kimchee marinated chicken with kimchee glaze
Fried chicken #3: Brined in kimchee juice and garlic, floured, double-fried and sauced with reduced kimchi juice, sugar and malt vinegar

The third version of fried chicken (and really, you are advised to never wear skinny jeans to a Stomachs Eleven dinner party) was Korean inspired. Here Pigflyin pulverised a kilogram of kimchee into kimchee juice which was then used to marinate the chicken. Pigflyin said "I was hoping that the lacto-fermented kimchi would have the same tenderising effect as buttermilk, except with more umami."

The chicken was dusted in corn starch only, and then double-fried. This thinner batter was deliberate, as the chicken was drenched in a sauce of reduced kimchi juice with sugar and malt vinegar. The red tinge was a natural result of the kimchee.

Um, hello, deliciousness! This was probably my favourite fried chicken of the night, the thin brittle batter soaking up the tacky, sweet, sticky and spicy sauce into mouthfuls of messy more-ishness.

Cabbage slaw with carrots, onions and granny smith apples
Two colour slaw with carrots, onions and granny smith apples with celery seeds and mustard

Salads included a wonderfully crisp two-colour slaw with carrots, onions and granny smith apple batons. It was mixed with kefir yoghurt, celery seeds and mustard.

Georgia peach salad with tomatoes, feta, mint, vino cotto and olive oil
Georgia peach salad with tomatoes, feta, mint, vino cotto and olive oil dressing

And it was hard not to smile at the colorful George peach salad, fat wedges of skinned peaches tossed through with heirloom tomatoes, rocket, feta and mint, dressed with vino cotto and olive oil.

Joe's Stone Crab key lime pie
Joe's Stone Crab key lime pie

After all that fried chicken, a wedge of key lime pie went down a treat. Limes are in season at the moment, and Pigflyin reports he only needed two limes to create an incredibly tangy dessert, tempered with lashings of condensed milk. He used Joe's Stone Crab recipe.

If you want to hear how crunchy that fried chicken was, check out this video we cruelly made for absent friends that evening.

Warning: Please ensure you have access to fried chicken before viewing this video. lol. Enjoy guys, and have a great week!

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven - Christmas Dinner 2013 by Pigflyin
Stomachs Eleven - Bone marrow and pigs trotters by Pigflyin
Stomachs Eleven - 10kg of mussels by PigFlyin
34 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 2/16/2014 10:22:00 pm


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