Simplifying Fried Chicken, A Much-Loved Meal Many Don't Love To Cook06:58
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Kathy's fried chicken. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)MoreCloseclosemore
Kathy's fried chicken. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Fried chicken is one of those foods people love to eat but don't always love to make. Resident chef Kathy Gunst brings Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson her takes on two fried — and one traditionally deep-fried — chicken dishes.


Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This is my take on Southern-style fried chicken. The chicken is cut into pieces and then marinated in buttermilk, salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne and then dredged in a combination of flour and cornmeal. I like to use coarse cornmeal for the crunchy texture.

Serve hot or at room temperature, with honey and lemon wedges.

Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Crisco, canola oil, safflower oil, organic shortening or a combination (enough to come up about 1 1/2 inch in your skillet or wok)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal, or coarse cornmeal
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedge
  • Honey
(Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
(Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl or zip-close plastic bags. Cover with the buttermilk, salt, pepper and cayenne. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Mix the flour and cornmeal with salt, pepper and a dash of cayenne.
  3. In a wok or heavy skillet (I like cast iron), add enough oil or shortening to come about 1 1/2 inches up from the bottom. Place a deep fry/candy thermometer in the skillet or wok and heat over moderately high heat until the oil reaches around 350 degrees.
  4. It doesn't matter what order you fry the chicken pieces. Generally I fry the wings, then the thighs and then the breasts, which take the longest to cook. You want to fry the chicken pieces about 6 to 10 minutes per side, or until they reach an internal temperature of around 160 to 165 degrees. To test the internal temperature you need a meat thermometer, separate from the one you are using to keep track of the oil temperature. Remove the chicken pieces to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  5. Throughout the frying process, make sure you are maintaining the temperature of the oil; it shouldn't go below 325 degrees or above 355 degrees. Remove the remaining chicken pieces to the wire rack.
  6. Serve hot or keep warm in a low, 275-degree oven.

KFC: Korean-Style Double-Fried Chicken

There are many versions of Korean fried chicken. What they have in common is a crunchy exterior and a sweet-spicy sauce. My version is double-fried for an extra-crunchy bite, and the marinade and sauce include Korean chile paste (gojuchang), soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and ginger. The chicken marinates and is then coated in a mixture of flour and cornstarch and finally deep fried — twice.

Just before serving, the marinade is simmered into a sauce, and the chicken is coated in this sweet-spicy sauce and dusted with sesame seeds and scallions.

Serves 4.

Korean-style double-fried chicken. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)
Korean-style double-fried chicken. (Kathy Gunst for Here & Now)

The Chicken And The Marinade

  • 1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Korean chile paste (gojuchang) or Chinese chile paste
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil or chile sesame oil

The Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon sugar or honey

The Coating

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

The Oil

  • Enough canola oil, Crisco, organic shortening, etc.

The Topping

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 scallions, chopped into 12-inch-size pieces

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Toss with the oil, ginger, gojuchang, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place the marinade in a small pot; stir or whisk in the ketchup and sugar or honey; simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes.
  3. On a large plate or bowl, combine the flour and cornstarch with salt and pepper. Dip the marinated chicken pieces into the flour mixture a few pieces at a time.
  4. In a wok or heavy skillet, add enough oil or shortening to come up about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom. Place a deep fry/candy thermometer in the skillet or wok and heat over moderately high heat until the oil reaches around 350 degrees.
  5. Fry the breast pieces first, turning the chicken once or twice to make sure it is golden brown on each side, about 7 minutes per side or until the internal temperature is around 160 to 165 degrees. To test the internal temperature you need a meat thermometer. Remove the breasts to a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
  6. Fry the thighs, drumstick and wings for about 7 minutes per side, turning the chicken pieces once or twice; again you want an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Make sure you are maintaining the temperature of the oil; it shouldn’t go below 325 or above 355 degrees. Remove the remaining chicken pieces to the wire rack.
  7. When the chicken is cool, fry again, a few pieces at a time, for 1 to 2 minutes on each side to crisp up the skin. Remove and drain on rack again.
  8. When the sauce has simmered for at least 10 minutes, toss the fried chicken in the sauce or brush it on with a spoon or pastry brush. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and scallions.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings With Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

This is classic bar food, the kind of dish you see everywhere these days. But let's face it: Most Buffalo wings are not only greasy and heavy, but they leave you feeling like you made a mistake ordering them in the first place. I'll admit a weakness for these spicy wings, so I toyed with the recipe a bit and came up with something lighter but full of flavor.

The first thing that distinguishes these wings is that they are baked, not fried, and lightly coated (not glopped) with a tart, spicy sauce. Also, because the wings are baked at a high temperature, the skin gets crispy and the hot pepper and vinegar sauce soaks in perfectly. Served with celery sticks and blue cheese dipping sauce, these wings make great party food. Ice-cold beer seems to be the drink of choice, and don't forget to pass plenty of napkins.

If you're serving these for a party, you can bake the wings up to 24 hours ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, simply reheat the wings for about 5 to 10 minutes in a 400-degree oven until hot, and then toss with the spicy sauce.

Serves 4 to 6.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, small legs (drumettes) or boneless thighs (skin on) about 16 pieces
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon hot sauce, to taste
  • 4 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch long strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into 3-inch long strips, optional
  • Blue cheese dipping sauce

Instructions

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Mix the oil, garlic, cayenne, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Pat the chicken wings dry using paper towels, then toss them in the oil mixture to coat.
  3. Place the wings on a large baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes (20 minutes for legs). Carefully flip the chicken over and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is well-browned and cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the ketchup, vinegar and hot sauce until blended in a large bowl. Remove the chicken from the oven, drain the excess oil and toss the ketchup sauce on top, making sure to coat all the wings thoroughly. Place the wings on a platter and serve hot or at room temperature, accompanied by the celery, carrots and blue cheese sipping sauce.

Blue Cheese Sauce

Serve this dipping sauce with the baked Buffalo chicken wings, or as a thick, delicious dressing for any salad. It can also serve as a dip for raw vegetables or cooked shrimp or skewers of grilled beef or chicken.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces blue cheese, softened and crumbled (1 ¼ cups)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Using the back of a spoon, mash the blue cheese in a small bowl until almost smooth — a few chunks are desirable. Mix in the scallions, sour cream and milk until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

This segment aired on October 1, 2018.

More From Our Resident Chef:

Kathy Gunst Twitter Here & Now Resident Chef
Kathy Gunst is a James Beard Award-winning journalist and the author of 15 cookbooks.

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