rain

… should I make soup or cookies?

… take out my yoga mat, or dig into last night’s fried chicken?

fried chicken

I think the chicken’s going to win.

Rainy Day Chicken

I’ve tried countless fried chicken recipes over the years and never particularly liked the results. I finally learned the secret lies in technique:

  • A long soak in hot sauce and buttermilk;
  • A leisurely rest after coating; and
  • A skillet and oven for cooking. (Thank you, Ina Garten, for this last one!)

Here’s how I made last night’s dinner:

  • 1 cut-up chicken (preferably organic)
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3-4 tablespoons Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt and pepper.

Add the onion, garlic and rosemary. Mix well, then add the chicken, submerging it as much as possible.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 5-6 hours, turning the chicken occasionally.

A couple of hours before you want to eat, remove the bowl from the refrigerator. In a large plastic bag, combine the all-purpose flour, the semolina, the spices, the salt and the pepper. Working with one or two pieces of chicken at a time, remove them from the bowl, shake off the excess liquid and place them in the bag. Shake well to coat, then remove the chicken from the flour mixture and place it on a baking rack. Fit the rack into a large baking sheet with inch-high sides.

Continue until all the chicken is coated. Let the pieces rest uncovered and at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the oil in a cast-iron skillet and heat until bubbles surround the end of a wooden spoon when it’s inserted in the pan.

Place 3-4 pieces of chicken in the oil and fry until the skin is golden. Remove them and place them back on the baking rack. Continue until all of your chicken is fried. (NOTE: You aren’t cooking the chicken through. You’re just frying up the skin.)

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Your chicken will emerge with a shatteringly crisp skin and perfectly seasoned, juicy meat. We ate ours with smashed yellow-skinned potatoes and Caesar salad.

With food like this, it can rain all it wants!

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