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Author Notes: I searched all over for great fried chicken recipes, and ultimately used a lot of ideas combined into this "ultimate" recipe. The baking powder in the coating makes this especially crisp! I like using chicken thigh fillets rather than breasts - they're much more flavorful, and higher in iron, too. And using all-meat means that the chicken is easier to cook through, and you don't have to watch out for bones. —annesfood
Food52 Review: Annesfood had us at baking powder. Neither of us had ever come across baking powder in a fried chicken recipe before, but since it’s found in a lot of tempura batters, we were optimistic. We were pleased to discover that the batter (followed by a coating of flour, more baking powder, herbs and spices) does indeed produce an extra crunchy crust. At the same time, the meat remains moist and flavorful, having wallowed in a bath of buttermilk, fresh sage and some other herbs and spices. Annesfood adds another interesting detail: she uses boneless chicken thighs, which allows the meat to cook more quickly, thus preventing the coating from getting too dark. Finding boneless thighs with the skin (a requisite for fried chicken in our opinion) is difficult, but you can easily bone your own by making parallel cuts along the sides of the thigh bone and then scraping the meat gently away. – A&M —The Editors
Part one: Brine
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless
- 3 cups buttermilk or sour milk
- 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 2 bay leaves, crushed
- Mix all ingredients for the brine. Add the chicken, and let it rest in the fridge for about 3 hours.
- Remove the chicken pieces and put them on a rack to drain a bit. Don't wipe off any brine though, but try to shake off any large pieces of garlic that might stick. Let the chicken drain for about two hours.
Part two: batter and coat
- 1 egg
- 1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Beat the egg and the buttermilk with the first teapoon of baking powder in a bowl. Mix flour, the second teaspoon of baking powder, cayenne pepper, chili powder and thyme in a shallow baking dish.
- Dip the chicken pieces in the batter and dredge them with the flour mixture.
- Finally, fry in a deep fryer at about 175°C (350°F), for 6-7 minutes or until your chicken is golden and crispy, and well cooked through.
- Your Best Fried Chicken Contest Finalist!