Friday, January 22, 2010

Buttermilk Fried Chicken - For Kids or Kids At Heart

Confession time: I do not like cooking for other people's children. When you are cooking for adults you get to try out different flavours, a wide variety of ingredients, some heat, some spice - in other words it is interesting cooking. Cooking for other people's kids is (mostly) a disappointing experience. It doesn't matter how good your sauce is, or that your homemade pizza dough is amazing or that your teriyaki salmon has your kids licking their dishes. Other people's kids mostly want to eat food that tastes the same at your house as it does at their home, and I expect my kids are the same at other people's houses. If your food is different from their normal meals, they will usually cross their arms and say "I'm not hungry" even when you know they could eat the leg off the table. Which means that most of the time (there are some key exceptions) when we entertain other people's kids, they get sausages in bread for dinner. Sausages + bread = sausages + bread. Every kid will eat it happily because it tastes the same wherever you are. And this approach works extremely well until you get to summer. In summer, when you are entertaining a lot more frequently, and in family groups, suddenly you need to add a bit of choice into the menu. If for no other reason than to stop your own kids from being bored to tears with the same dinner over and over.

Enter: Fried Chicken. This has become my new menu item for kids. If my first attempt was anything to go by, the small fry loved it, and the adults mopped up the leftovers. The chicken is marinated in buttermilk to tenderize the flesh, then battered and shallow-fried briefly before cooking in the oven. This is good in two ways:
- a nice battered exterior, without the chicken spending an extended period cooking in oil
- you can get it half-cooked ahead of time, and just finish it off in the 15 mins before dinner. Perfect for when you are entertaining another tribe.
This recipe comes from Jill Dupleix in Delicious Dec 09 / Jan 10. I have been working my way through this issue of Delicious as part of the "We Made It" challenge with Melinda from Melbourne Larder. Jill Dupleix is a writer I follow - she has a lovely style, and her cooking is definitely at the less fiddly end of the spectrum. I have a couple of her cookbooks and I love her Delicious and SMH columns. In fact one of my favourite cooking quotes is from her: "I love cooking, but not while I could be eating and drinking." On that note here's to a great Australia Day weekend.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken
adapted from Jill Dupleix in Delicious Dec 2009 / Jan 2010
8 chicken legs (look for kid sized ones; some are big enough to be used in combat)
1 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cups plain flour
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Cover the chicken with the buttermilk and refrigerate for at least 1 hr, or ideally overnight. Preheat oven to 200C.
Mix flour with paprika and some salt and a little pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge each leg through the flour until it is well-coated.
Heat 1cm oil over medium high heat . Cook the chicken in batches until it is well-browned on both sides. Do not attempt to cook it through. Put chicken on a baking tray lined with baking paper to sop the batter sticking to the tray. Bake for 15 mins, or until the chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool long enough so that little fingers don't get burnt, then serve. I is even delicious at room temperature.


Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I totally agree with you about the kids. This chicken looks wonderful.

Me! said...

That's why you shouldn't cook for other peoples' children. or make them eat what you want to eat. They will learn to appreciate it :) Your fried chicken looks so crisp and delicious.

PageRank Check said...

I love this one sure kids will love it

Gastronomy Gal said...

the kids will one day appreciate being able to try different things at your house! That chicken looks like anyone would love to devour it!

Debinhawaii said...

Beautiful-looking chicken. I am a big fan of Jill Dupleix she has some great easy recipes.