Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Believe it or not, I'm not cooking today!  Weird, huh!

Gobble, gobble!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I've Got Some Catching Up To Do!

I have been running around like a chicken with her head on fire.  I'm getting ready to go see my kids, and to meet my new grand-daughter!  Yay!

I thought that I'd try to wedge in another food post before I head south, so here goes!

(BTW; I blame Philip for starting me on this mad quest!)       ;)

I've been craving KFC, but I decided long ago I wouldn't set foot in their establishment again after 4 or 5 very disappointing meals there in a row.  That and the fact that they charge way too much mu-la for their "product!"  Besides, home-made is so much better!  So I started to research and experiment.  I knew that I could easily figure out most of the seasonings, since I do that sort of thing by smell, so I wasn't too wadded up about that.  I just had to figure out the method.  Google is my friend!

Here are a few helpful sites on this subject:
At  Always a good place to start!
At  I really liked this site overall.  I'll be back for more ideas.  *
At Beachloverkitchen.  This was actually the most helpful, but all of the sites held very helpful hints.

Any-hoo; be very careful to follow all instructions from your pressure cooker manufacturer should you decide to do this at home!

I begin by soaking a whole cut up fryer and six extra thighs in three cups of buttermilk.  If you don't have buttermilk, you can use whole milk and add one teaspoon of white vinegar for every cup of milk.  Just let it rest for at least ten minutes before you add the chicken.  Marinate it overnight and until you want to start it for the evening meal.

Next, remove the chicken to a tray or platter.  Beat one large egg and add it to the buttermilk mixture, whisking it to blend. 

Set aside.  In a plastic bin with a tight lid, or a large paper bag add two or three cups of self rising flour, a tablespoon of herbs de provence, 1/2 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of marjoram, 1/2 teaspoon of bouquet garni, 1 teaspoon of onion powder and garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  I always add a little pinch of nutmeg or allspice to this.  It gives it that something extra! 

(Shh! It's a secret!)    ;)

After that is ready, sift about 2 cups of all purpose flour and 1/4 cup of potato flour in a sheet cake pan. 

Do a preliminary coating of the chicken. Don't be afraid to really press that flour into the skin.  Trust me:  it makes the egg and subsequent flour dip and dredging stick to the chicken so much better.  Isn't that why we want fried chicken anyway?  For the batter!  Right!

This is how it should look before you dip it in the egg and buttermilk mixture.

Once you've coated the chicken well, set aside on a rack, whisk the egg/milk once again for good measure.  Dip the pieces into the mixture and add them to the bin or bag--what ever method you feel most comfortable with. Shake them up very well, making sure to secure the top tightly so as not to have a mess of flour and stuff clouding your cucina!  I know this from experience.  You might want to just do a few at a time in order to not crowd them.  That would result in inefficient coating and crappy batter syndrome!*  We can't have that!  Place the coated pieces on a baking rack until all are shrouded in a wonderful dusting.

Now it's time for the frying!  This is when everyone in the house gets impatient!  (It smells good.)

Place your pressure cooker on the stove and turn on the heat to medium high.  Add your frying agent(s).  I like a blend of canola oil, olive oil, a half stick of butter, and 3-4 tablespoons of lard.  We're not talkin' health food here, folks!  It's FRIED CHICKEN  for Cripe's sake!  Now that we've established that, let's get a move on.  I'm hungry!  ;)

Once the frying mixture has reached the proper temperature, which can be determined by sprinkling a bit of flour into the oil.  If it sizzles; it's ready!  (I love this tip from Beachloverkitchen!)

Now you can begin frying your pieces 2-3 at a time, again avoiding over-crowding.  Brown them pretty well on all sides, and alternate to the baking rack and continue on until all of the chicken has been browned to your heart's desire!

After all the chicken is browned nice and crispy, and transferred to the rack, take up the grease (because by now it truly looks disgusting!) and discard by pouring it into an old large cottage cheese container or some such thing.  Let it cool overnight before tossing it into the bin so it doesn't wreak havoc on your trash bag.  Not a pretty picture!  Wipe out the pressure cooker with a few paper-towels.  Next add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/2 of an onion, rough chopped.  Simmer for a couple of minutes.  Place the rack for the pressure cooker into the
bottom of the pan.  Bring the broth to a boil  Add the basket to the pot on top of the rack, to keep the chicken out of the broth.  Layer the chicken into the basket.

Position the lid of the pressure cooker on to the pot, making sure the seal is successful.  Bring up to the proper pressure and cook for about 11 to 13 minutes, depending on your altitude. 

The results are very good.  I need to tweak it a bit, but all in all;  it tasted great!  If you prefer a crunchier crust, just place in a sheet pan on a baking rack in a 385 degree F. oven for a few minutes until the desired crispiness has been achieved.  Just baby-sit it closely because it won't take long!

There!  That's my easy pressure fried chicken in 50 easy steps!  :)  I really need to get a life!

I served them up with a nice salad and some scalloped potatoes with bacon.

Recipe for that at some future date.  The only thing missing is some wonderful biscuits!

I know, I know!  Vikki, meet  the elliptical!  Remember to blame Philip!  ;}

*(crappy batter syndrome is a horrifying event wherein your batter does not stick to your fish, poultry, or steak-fingers in a consistent manner.  oooh:  steak-fingers!)