Let me just start off by saying that I really really really dislike frying anything, beyond the health issues surrounding the method, hot oil makes me nervous. However, i'm very partial to home made fried chicken (call it my kryptonite) and I like to make it every once in a while. Without a doubt it's a classic and growing up, it was a family tradition to have fried chicken for Sunday dinners or on special occasions. There are so many variations to this dish and for me, it was a toss up between sharing this recipe and a buttermilk and citrus beer recipe that I have in my arsenal. I settled on this one simply because I was feeling the tanginess that's imparted by the pickled brine.
Due to my dislike for frying, last year I invested in a deep fryer (though i rarely make fried foods, it was still worth it for me), this means no messing about with a thermometer, I just set the temperature I need and let it do its thing. Less messing about equals less chance of being showered in hot oil and that makes the process far less daunting for me.
So with the hardware part of the process taken care of, I wanted to develop a recipe that resulted in a flavourful, crispy but still juicy piece of chicken. I love brining, but i've never liked the excess salt added to brine solutions, I made the choice to greatly reduce the salt content (you'll see that the recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons of salt) and opted to create a brine that was balanced in flavour instead.
You'll notice in the ingredients list that I say the dill is optional , I left it out of mine because Giselle isn't a big fan of the flavour, however, if you love it/ are not apposed to it, I strongly suggest adding it to your brine once it's cooled down, it brings an amazing dimension and really bolsters the pickled taste.
You can go ahead and bust out the hot sauce and or ketchup, or, you could take a few minutes to make a quick ginger and spring onion chilli oil! it's worth it! if you want the recipe let me know in the comments or even on Instagram.
pickle brined fried chicken
4 tablespoon Pickling spice
2 tablespoon cracked black peppercorn
4 tablespoon garlic powder
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 litre chicken stock
4 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons hot paprika
250 mls buttermilk
2 tablespoon Chilli flakes
2 tablespoon sea salt
4 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons fennel seed
A bunch of fresh dill (optional)
1 whole free range organic chicken broken down
on low to medium heat toast pickling spices, black peppercorn, mustard seeds and fennel seeds In a stock pot or a pan large enough to hold your pieces of chicken when brining, stir constantly for about 5 minutes, you’ll know your spices are ready when they become fragrant.
pour in the chicken stock and sea salt, simmer over medium to high heat for a further 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the garlic powder, sugar. smoked paprika, hot paprika and chilli flakes. Mix well and leave uncovered to infuse and cool to room temperature.
Once the brine solution has cooled, add the vinegar and buttermilk to the mixture.
If adding fresh dill to this recipe, now is the time to do so.
Add the pieces of chicken, being sure that all the pieces are submerged in the brine, cover and refrigerate for at least 10 hours but preferably over night.
dredging flour mix
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon onion salt
2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorn
2 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon hot paprika
pinch of salt
3 eggs for the egg wash
fry your chicken
Step 1 - remove the chicken from the fridge and from the brine 30 minutes before you are ready to fry. Using a kitchen towel or fork remove any bits of spice that may be stuck to the chicken pieces. Set chicken pieces aside and prepare your 2nd step.
Step 2 - whether using a deep fryer or a cast iron pot, bring the temperature of your oil to 180C and while it heats up prepare your dredging flour mix by combining all the ingredients, except the eggs, in a bowl or paper bag.
Step 3 - In a separate bowl whisk together eggs
Step 4 – working with 1 piece at a time, dip chicken into eggs, making sure it is well coated, allow any excess mixture to drip off before dredging in the flour mix, shake or tap against the side of the bowl to remove any excess flour. (only dredge the pieces frying in the same batch right away)
Step 5 - carefully place the first batch of chicken into the hot oil (do not over crowd). Once pieces are in, maintain a temperature between 170C and 180C.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you've fried all the pieces. Always bring the oil back to 180C before frying each batch.
I fry wings for 10 minutes | thighs and drumsticks for 12 minutes | breasts 12 to 14 minutes however if you have a considerably large chicken, you may want to increase each time by a couple of minutes.