In the September issue of Food & Wine Magazine, Chef John Currence documents his own struggle with disease - pancreatitis, and how it changed his cooking. He offers a slightly healthier substitute for the traditional fried chicken. This version is lightly fried, then roasted throughout to maintain a juicy tenderness while being slightly less greasy than its Southern staple counterpart.
|Via Food & Wine|
After successfully modifying other Food & Wine recipes to gluten free versions, I decided to give this one a shot. The real secret in this recipe is the sweet tea brine that you soak the chicken in overnight. According to Chef Currence, the tannins in the tea tenderize the chicken while the sugar gives it a slight cure. Consider me convinced. This is the juiciest, most flavorful chicken I've had in quite a while, and I'll take it any day over the fried chicken I used to eat.
For this recipe, you will need the following:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, approximately five ounces each
4 cups brewed & sweetened iced tea
1 1/2 tablespoons Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon dried thyme
2 cups Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
To start, combine all marinade ingredients in a plastic bag or glass dish. Add the chicken and let soak overnight. You don't want to skip this step - the overnight marinating is critical to the flavor of the chicken. The next day, remove the chicken from the bag and drain. The recipe instructs that you pick off the dried pieces of thyme. I left them on, because I really like the flavor they give.
Next, prepare your flour mixture. Combine all flour mixture ingredients in a large bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour and spice blend and make sure all pieces are completely coated.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Since I don't have the large nonstick, oven proof skillet that the recipe calls for, I used a stainless steel sauté pan for the frying portion and transferred the chicken to a roasting pan with a flat rack. I would recommend using the rack - the first time I created this recipe I set the chicken directly on a pan and the bottom of each piece became mushy and lost its coating.
Heat up the oil in the sauté pan, then melt the butter in the oil, with your burner set to high heat. I worked with the chicken two pieces at a time to make sure the frying was consistent. Place the chicken in the oil and lightly fry - remember, you aren't cooking completely. I used fairly large chicken breasts, and they took about three minutes on one side and three minutes on the other.
After frying, transfer the chicken to the roasting pan.
Since I selected fairly large pieces of chicken, my cooking time was adjusted. I cooked mine on the roasting pan approximately 20 minutes. They came out perfectly crispy, but still incredibly tender.
Any fried chicken worth making should be good cold out of the fridge the next day. This one stands up to the test with winning approval. As a side, I made the Three Cheese Mac & Cheese from the same issue. Make sure to check back tomorrow for that recipe.