Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fried Buttermilk Chicken for Christmas Dinner

Merry Christmas, everybody!

This year's Christmas isn't as well planned as last year. Presents for my family? Bought 'em yesterday. Kind of. My sister's is on delay, but at least I know what I'm getting her. Christmas dinner? Planned and went grocery shopping yesterday. I didn't even think about dessert until I was at the store. Unbelievable! Decorations? Nada. Not that we were big decorators to begin with. It didn't help that I've slept away this whole week due to being sick.

Besides lacking time and energy, I think this year I am especially lacking in spirit. It's sad, but maybe it's the fact that there's no snow? It usually helps, but I've seen no snow at all so far. I did get into the spirit when I went to see A Christmas Carol, but it ended when the play ended. But whatever day it might be, I am happy that I get to spend this time with my family. It's a rare and fine moment when all four of us are eating at the same time.

Instead of having a "traditional" Christmas dinner, I went for a KFC theme: fried chicken, mac and cheese, coleslaw with steak fries and sweet potato fries. Yum! I was craving all this after I watched Kitchen Nightmares at Blackberry's, a Southern soul food restaurant. And apparently, my dad was craving some, too, after he saw fried chicken on TV. Perfect!

When I first told my mom and my sister about the ingredients in this recipe, they were very skeptical about the buttermilk. But I told them to trust me, they would not taste it in the chicken. It's just supposed to make the chicken tender and that it did. The crust tasted different from what we're used to, but I loved that it wasn't full of salt unlike fast food fried chicken.

I tried this Mac and Cheese recipe with Gouda cheese instead of Cheddar. I thought my parents would prefer this because they are usually not a fan of anything cheesy and Cheddar is especially strong. We thought it was okay. I'm definitely going to stick with Cheddar though. It's just not Mac and Cheese without it.

As for the coleslaw, this KFC copycat recipe was definitely a hit. I put in a whole lot less sugar though because my mom always thinks KFC's is too sweet even though she likes the taste. I love this recipe and gives me more ways to use buttermilk!

I hope everyone had a great day with family and friends :)

Fried Buttermilk Chicken [Makes 6 servings]
From Dishing the Divine

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided
Salt and pepper
1 tsp garlic powder, divided
1 tsp paprika, divided
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash hot sauce
3 1/2 lb bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs), trimmed*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cups vegetable oil

A whole 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, can be used instead of the chicken parts. Skinless chicken pieces are also an acceptable substitute, but the meat will come out slightly drier. If using large chicken breasts (about 1 pound each), cut each breast into 3 pieces. If using smaller breasts (10 to 12 ounces each), cut each breast into 2 pieces. A Dutch oven with an 11-inch diameter can be used in place of the straight-sided sauté pan.

Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, pinch cayenne, and hot sauce together in large bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400F. Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet.

Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp pepper, remaining 3/4 tsp garlic powder, remaining 3/4 tsp paprika, and remaining cayenne together in large bowl. Add remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk to flour mixture and mix with fingers until combined and small clumps form.

Working with 1 chicken piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, pressing mixture onto pieces to form a thick, even coating. Place dredged chicken on large plate, skin side up.

Heat oil in 11-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until it registers 375F. Carefully place chicken in pan, skin side down, and fry until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. (Adjust heat as necessary to maintain oil at 375F.) Carefully flip and continue to fry until golden brown on second side, 2 to 4 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to prepared wire rack and bake until breast pieces register 160F and/or thighs and drumsticks register 175F, 15 to 20 minutes. Smaller pieces may cook faster than larger pieces. Remove pieces from the oven as they reach correct temperature. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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