There are a few things nearly everyone can agree on. The Beatles wrote some really great songs, mountains are awesome, and every one looks silly when they use an iPad as a camera. And, I submit to you, this: no omnivore doesn't like fried chicken. It's just simply a slam dunk of flavor and texture, and when done well, it's a treat anyone can get excited about.
During the last few weeks, I've been hard at work remodeling our kitchen with some simple DIY upgrades, and brand new pro-grade appliances from Frigidaire Professional. Now that I've worked up an appetite, my wife and I put our heads together and came up with two delicious recipes to test out on our new equipment. Read on for the full recipes, and some palette pleasing food photos.
There's a lot of myths and legends about construction perfect fried chicken at home: secret spice blends, brines and buttermilks, free range vs air chilled vs standard chickens, special sauces, even proper oil or fat selection. But never underestimate an essential component: the vessel in which you fry.
To my mind, the hot chicken tradition of Nashville, TN is among the most amazing regional food traditions for three reasons: 1) it's amazingly local, native to a few neighborhoods in a single city, rather than a general area 2) it's amazingly (yet justifiably) spicy, and 3) the recipes have been amazingly secretive.
Moreover, it's incredibly, incredibly delicious, and I've never had anything like it.
Jamaican jerk chicken is one of those regional food specialities that have been historically nearly impossible to recreate elsewhere. Sure, you can do an overnight rest in a scallion, scotch bonnet, and allspice heavy marinade, grill everything nice and slow, but you'd still be missing the signature ingredient that makes jerk chicken something truly unique:
Were there ever a contest for greatest sandwich of all time, this guy would have to be a contender. The recipe comes from chef/owners of the LA restaurant Son of a Gun, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, who also run the award-winning Animal.
Atlanta-based restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A has been in the news lately, and the U.S. is discussing more than just how delicious their signature, two-pickled chicken sandwiches are. I have plenty of thoughts on the subject, but I shan't share them here, cause this post is about sandwiches. (If you are curious what I think, feel free to email me. I'd be happy to chat about it with you.)
Regardless of the politics, it is true that Chick-Fil-A produces a unique take on the chicken sandwich, and their signature flavors and textures are worth figuring out how to recreate at home. So, whether you'll never go again, can't seem to break through the demonstrations, or are just craving a super tasty chicken sandwich on a Sunday, check out this recipe for making one at home.
As if it couldn't get any better, fried chicken and waffles - that ultimate combination of savory and sweet, salty and syrupy, crunchy and toothsome - just recieved the ultimate upgrade: frozen, and sandwiched between two cookies.
Indeed. Check out how to make it at home:
Yep, Coca-Cola fried chicken. You've heard of beer-battered fish and chips, a baked ham glazed in Dr. Pepper, or Korean barbecued short ribs marinated in 7Up, so adding a bit of beverage to one of the world's greatest foods is sort of a no-brainer.
Sometimes, while spending a hour finely slicing vegetables for soup or kneading a dough, or specifically, whipping a meringue to make ice cream, mousse, or, more-or-less, any dessert I actually make, I muse on how so many dishes couldn't exist without the unique white-and-yolk properties of eggs. Or rather, it's precisely because we have eggs and the work the way they do that we have these dishes in the first place; and if chickens popped out some entirely different foodstuff, our culinary traditions would be rather different, because they would have been based on the properties of this other thing, rather than the egg. It is indeed incredible, and edible.
We at ManMade are huge advocates of handmade products, and always promote the freedoms of avoiding consumerism and mass-produced goods.
Seeing this photo is exactly what we needed to keep the faith: this is mechanically separated chicken, and it's what's inside fast food products like chicken nuggets and patties, as well the frozen processed chicken products in the freezer section of the grocery store.
Click through to read what's actually going on here...
Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good has accomplished an incredible week-long adventure: she created an entire weeks worth of healthy meals for two people with pantry staples, $25.00, and one whole chicken. "The stretchability of a whole chicken is a frequently discussed topic among food and frugality bloggers... [but] here’s the thing: sometimes, those dinners aren’t the healthiest meals in the world. There tend to be a lot of quesadillas and casseroles whenever these type of posts pop up, not to mention chicken salads drenched with full-fat mayo. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this whatsoever (except the mayo - blech), but I wanted to see if I could put a healthier spin on it. In a sentence: I wanted to find out if it was possible to create a gaggle of inexpensive, lower-fat meals with the leftovers from one big ol’ chicken."
And she did it! No repeats, and no waste, and only $0.86 over budget.
2008 was all about pork bellies and cupcakes, and in 2009, thoughts turned to locally roasted coffee, Peruvian food, and a trillion ways to prep brussels sprouts. And in 2010?
Well, apparently, it's fried chicken. At its best, crispy, juicy, and savory, it very well may be the perfect post-recession dish. And, in the right hands, it can be prepared with much more nuance and technique than just eleven herbs and spices.