Monday, February 15, 2010
Fried Chicken & Buttermilk Rolls
I'm not quite sure what compelled me to try this real live Sunday-style dinner for the family, but it seemed like as good a time as any. Let's start with the rolls (which I actually thought were biscuits until the finished product emerged from the oven - oh well, minor detail). Having recently read TheMidwestTexan's April '09 posting about using a breadmaker, I was inspired to dust off our own breadmaker that has more or less been decaying away in the furnace room downstairs since we moved in and see what it could do. I churned out a perfectly adequate 1-lb French bread as a test case on Friday (made mighty good toast & jam on Sat. morning), so I felt pretty good about attempting the back-of-the-yeast-package buttermilk roll recipe to go with my chicken Roll Recipe. By using the "dough" setting on the breadmaker, it was pretty painless to churn out a dozen rolls that were not bad, if not a little, well, doughy. Next time, I would like to do biscuits for real, even if it means bypassing the breadmaker altogether (although I'll use it if I can).
As far as the chicken (see Tupperware-encased result above), this was a little more involved. The recipe as relayed to me from my stepmom is one of Barefoot Contessa's; however, I've heard through the grapevine that it's also a variation on the chicken that my elderly Aunt Annie in Ohio used to make, in which you quick-fry the pieces, then finish them in the oven. First, I soaked the chicken (12 pieces in all) in a cold water-salt bath for about 30 minutes to brine, then dumped them in a big bowl, covered them with buttermilk, and let them tenderize overnight in the fridge. When Sunday afternoon arrived, I let the chicken pieces drain on wire racks for about 15 minutes to drip off the excess buttermilk, lightly breaded them with a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and paprika, then threw them in the electric frypan for about 5 minutes each side. One unexpected hitch: my electric frypan wasn't deep enough to hold the 2 inches of oil that the recipe specified (about an inch was all I could get in there). I had planned on frying the pieces in 2 batches, but when I started adding them to the hot oil, I realized that the oil level was rising ever-so-closer to the top of the pan with each added piece, thus conjuring images of boiling-hot oil dumping all over the counter and down into the cabinets (I have already had an incident where I overflowed a few cups of semi-completed carrot soup from my food processor into my spice cabinet, so I am leery of repeat incidents, and as bad as that one was, this would have been much, much worse). As a result, I had to do more batches of fewer pieces to prevent spillage. And I have to admit, I'm not entirely comfortable yet working with 325F oil in close proximity to my body, as I felt the need to do the sign of the cross each time I lifted the pan lid and moved chicken in/out of the bubbling cauldron. Luckily, no skin grafts were needed this time.
After baking the quick-fried chicken for 45 minutes at 350F, everything was done. The end result was not the best I've ever had (hardly - most of my family that has made this dish seems to do it better), but it wasn't bad for a first-timer. Plus, we still have the leftovers to last us through the week.