Sunday, May 21, 2006

Oven-Fried Chicken

Everyone loves fried chicken. I wanted to find a way to fry it in advance so I wasn't standing at the stove, covered in grease, while everyone waited for dinner. Parker Hodges at Barefoot Contessa solved the problem brilliantly. Now I fry each piece for about 10 minutes, and then cook the chicken on a baking rack in the oven, which makes it crisp on the outside and tender and juicy inside. It's so much easier and you don't need to scour the kitchen after you're done! Just remember that the chicken needs to marinate overnight.--Ina Garten

I think this method produced as good a fried-chicken as Alton Brown's method, and Ina is right, it is "so much easier". You don't have to marinate the chicken overnight; two hours is enough.

1 or 2 chickens (3 to 3 1/2 pounds each), cut into eight serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tablespoon kosher salt*
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper*
Crisco oil (the liquid type doesn't have any trans-fat)

*If you make 2 chickens you need to double the flour-salt-pepper mixture.

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Cmobine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot (I used my large Le Crueset). to the delpth of 1 inch and heat to 360º.

Working in batches, carfully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown ( it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360º before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 mintues, until the chicken is no longer pink insidel. Serve hot.

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