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Video: Kentucky Derby party food

TODAY recipes
updated 4/29/2009 10:04:46 AM ET 2009-04-29T14:04:46

Recipe: The ultimate fried chicken

Time: 2 hours 40 minutes (includes brining time)

Ingredients
  • 1 (3-4 pound) chicken, cut up into 10 pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons hot chili sauce, such as Srirachi Hot Chili Sauce
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 big sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 bunch fresh sage
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 head garlic, smashed, husk still attached
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
Preparation

Put the chicken pieces into a large bowl. Cover the chicken with water by 1 inch; add
1 tablespoon of salt for each quart of water used. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

In a large shallow platter, mix the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cayenne until well blended; season generously with salt and pepper. In another platter combine the buttermilk and hot sauce; season with salt and pepper.

Drain the chicken and pat it dry. Dredge the pieces, a few at a time, in the flour mixture,
then dip them into the buttermilk; dredge them again in the seasoned flour. Set aside and let the chicken rest while you prepare the oil.

Put about 3 inches of oil into a large deep pot; it should not come up more than halfway. Add the thyme, rosemary, sage, bay leaves and garlic to the cool oil and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375 degrees F on one of those clip-on deep-fry thermometers. The herbs and garlic will perfume the oil with their flavor as the oil comes up to temperature.

Once the oil has reached 375 degrees F, working in batches, carefully add the chicken pieces 3 or 4 at a time. Fry, turning the pieces once, until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

When the chicken is done, take a big skimmer and remove the chicken pieces and herbs from the pot, shaking off as much oil as you can, and lay them on a tea towel or brown paper bag to soak up the oil. Sprinkle all over with more salt and a dusting of cracked black pepper. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Once all the chicken is fried, scatter the fried herbs and garlic over the top. Serve hot, with big lemon wedges.

Serving Size

Yields 4 servings

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