❦ The Best Fried Chicken ❦ O Melhor Frango Frito
Hearing the words, fried chicken, you immediately picture fast food places, like American KFC, and think it isn't a good choice. While in most instances that might be true, I am here to tell you that you can make, delicious, restaurant quality fried chicken at home. You do not need expensive equipment, an electric deep fat fryer or fancy shmancy gadgets to achieve this superfood. Americans aren't the only ones who fry chicken to perfection. In Portugal, fried chicken is very often featured on lunch menus across the country. Oh and that buttermilk brine that's all the rage? Guess what, we had that down too, probably centuries before it became so mainstream. Today I will share with you my super delicious recipe for fried chicken. Not greasy, not undercooked, not dry. It will knock your socks off and you will never want to see a premade supermarket package of fried chicken or expensive KFC takeout again. You know exactly what your putting in this and what comes out is magical. What I love about this recipe is how simple it is. Many readers tell me they are afraid of frying, that the oil splatters, etc.. Listen, it is simple... oil doesn't like water and it must be hot, 180° c/ 350° c., before you put any food in.
Don't crowd it. Fry a few pieces at a time, I usually do 4-5 pieces at a time, as the temperature of the oil drops when you add food.
Preheat your oven, to 100°c/ 200°f, before you start, to keep the chicken warm. Place fried chicken on a rack over a tray in preheated oven once fried. This will allow chicken to drain excess oil and remain crisp as you finish batches.
There are a million and one recipes for fried chicken out there. I assure you that this one is simply the easiest and tastiest, most crowd pleasing one there is. Did you ever hear the saying, "If a Portuguese girl said it it must be true?", me neither but hey, LOL....
I have accompanied this chicken tonight with a classic of the Portuguese culinary scene, Arroz de Feijão, which is a lovely dark red kidney bean rice.
O Melhor Frango Frito ❦ The Best Fried Chicken
*You will need a deep fat/ candy thermometer
For the brine:
Minimum 3 hours or up to overnight.
2 Small free range chicken, weighing less than 1,2 kg., cut into 12, pieces not counting 4 wings. see photo below
3 Bay leaves, torn in half
8 Whole black peppercorns
1 tbsp. Garlic powder
3 tsp. Salt
1 Lemon, zest reserved juice for marinade ( 1 medium lemon will yield approximately 45 ml. or 3 tbsps.)
1 Milk as needed to cover chicken, about 2 -3 cups
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 Lemon, zest and juice ( 1 medium lemon will yield approximately 45 ml. or 3 tbsps.)
For the coating:
600 g. Plain flour, about 4 cups
4 tbsps. Sweet paprika, pimentón dulce
4 tbsps. Garlic powder
2 tbsps. Ground black pepper
2 tbsps. Herbs de Provence
1 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Celery salt
2 tsp. Onion powder
1 tsp. Baking powder
2 tsp. Ground ginger
2 tsp. Cayenne, optional if you want it with some heat
1 Lemon, zest , reserve juice for brine below ( 1 medium lemon will yield approximately 45 ml. or 3 tbsps.
3 hours or day before you make the chicken:
1. In a large freezer bag, place chicken and all ingredients for brine. You can throw in used lemon halves, if you wish. Refrigerate until ready to fry.
When ready to fry:
1. In a large freezer bag, combine flour, spices and lemon zest.
2. Preheat oven to 100°c/ 200°f., with a rack topped tray, so oil drips and chicken stays crisp while you fry all the pieces.
3. Lift all chicken from brine and add to bag with flour mixture. Close bag and give the bag a few turns to coat the chicken well and evenly with flour. Lift from flour mixture, shaking off excess flour. Place on a plate. I add 3 pieces to bag maximum at a time.
4. In a cast iron pot, heat vegetable oil to 180° c / 350° f.
Lower in 3-4 pieces of chicken at a time. Fry for about 12-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Lift with slotted spoon and place on oven rack to keep warm while you fry remaining pieces. Let oil come back up to the correct temperature before you add more chicken.
Chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches
75°c/ 165°f , the best way check is by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken without touching bone.