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Double Cooked Fried Chicken (XP)

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    You ll Laugh and Fry With Rodgers Karola Saekel, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, March 3, 1999 ©1999 San Francisco Chronicle Steak, martinis, fondue and
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 1999
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      You'll Laugh and Fry With Rodgers
      Karola Saekel, Chronicle Staff Writer
      Wednesday, March 3, 1999
      �1999 San Francisco Chronicle

      Steak, martinis, fondue and cigars are back -- and deep-fried foods never
      left. That is one of the opening statements -- and the raison d'etre -- for
      prolific cookbook author/cooking teacher and radio/ television chef Rick
      Rodgers' latest volume.

      Its title, '`fried & true,'' speaks to the author's love of good greasy
      stuff and his predilection for unabashed punnery: The book begins with
      ``frittering away'' (Rodgers is a lower- case type of chap), and concludes
      with ``to a crisp,'' a collection of deep-fried sweets.

      Rodgers' little volume does not necessarily call the cholesterol and
      calorie police to combat readiness. Done correctly -- and he explains how
      in detail -- many of these dishes are not all that calorically challenging.
      Besides, even devotee Rodgers doesn't recommend we eat fried things all the
      time.

      The point that deep-fried foods don't have to drip with fat is well
      illustrated by the first entry in his ``large fry'' section, double-cooked
      fried chicken. He marinates a cut-up chicken in a buttermilk-hot-pepper
      sauce mixture; coats it simply with flour, salt and pepper; then plunges it
      into hot melted vegetable shortening. As soon as they have a golden-brown
      crust, the chicken pieces are transferred to a wire rack and are finished
      in the oven. It's a wonderfully simple recipe and produces grease-free,
      crunchy chicken.

      Many other recipes cater to our nostalgic side: chicken-fried steak,
      chicken Kiev, onion rings, doughnuts and funnel cakes.

      Not to give the impression that all his inspiration comes from
      grandmother's house, Rodgers includes a batch of more modern dishes:
      tostaditas, crispy Japanese pork cutlets with a raw vegetable garnish and
      tonkatsu sauce, rice crisps with a Thai-style peanut-lime sauce, goat
      cheese wontons and panisses, a chickpea-flour version of polenta sticks.

      His sweet ravioli with a filling that includes chocolate, rum, dried fruit,
      almonds and -- surprise -- cooked garbanzos may be a bit startling, but
      make a conversation-stopping treat.

      Rodgers keeps introductions and general information brief and concise, but
      he elaborates on the proper utensils, from specially designed deep-friers
      to pots and pans found in any kitchen. He specifies the fats -- mostly oils
      and vegetable shortening -- to use for each recipe, and he insists on not
      imitating old-time cooks in one respect: Don't reuse frying fats, he says
      -- use them once and discard them.

      To fall into Rodgers' pun-filled pattern, this is a book that can
      definitely alleviate the fear of frying.

      ``fried & true,'' by Rick Rodgers with photographs by Christopher
      Hirsheimer. (Chronicle Books; 144 pages soft-cover; $16.95).


      DOUBLE-COOKED FRIED CHICKEN

      This method creates a crisp crust and a grease-free, perfect chicken

      INGREDIENTS:

      -- 2 cups buttermilk
      -- 1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce such as Tabasco
      -- 1 (4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 portions, with 1/3 of the breast meat
      left attached to wings
      -- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      -- 1 teaspoon salt
      -- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
      -- Vegetable shortening or oil for deep frying

      INSTRUCTIONS: In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot pepper sauce.
      Add the chicken and mix well. Cover and refrigerate, stirring the chicken
      occasionally, for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

      Drain the chicken. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a large paper bag or a
      large bowl. A few pieces at a time, toss the chicken in the flour mixture
      to coat. Place on waxed paper and let stand 15 minutes at room temperature
      to set the coating.

      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a large wire cake rack over a jelly-
      roll pan.

      In a deep, large skillet, melt vegetable shortening to a depth of 2 to 3
      inches and heat it to 375 degrees. Add the chicken and deep-fry, turning
      once, until golden brown on both sides, about 12 minutes. Transfer to the
      wire rack and bake until the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at
      the bone, about 15 minutes.

      Serve hot or at room temperature. (Fried chicken is best served within 2
      hours of frying and shouldn't be refrigerated, as refrigeration gives the
      chicken breasts a cottony texture.). Serves 4.

      PER SERVING: 440 calories, 45 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 24 g fat (7 g
      saturated), 151 mg cholesterol, 496 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.

      �1999 San Francisco Chronicle Page 3/ZZ1


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