Fried Chicken with Lemon and Spring Onions

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Ingredients

Brine

  • 1000ml Water
  • 50g Kosher Salt or Fine Sea Salt
  • 50g Sugar
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • 2 Shallots (trimmed, peeled and sliced)
  • 1 bunch Thyme
  • 1 bunch Parsley
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 5 Allspice Berries (lightly crushed)

Chicken

  • 2 Whole Chickens (butchered into 8 large pieces; 2 breast, 2 wings, 2 thighs, and 2 drumsticks).
  • 150g Potato Starch
  • Peanut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Vegetable Oil, or Lard for Frying.

Instructions

Brine

  1. Place star anise, garlic, pepper, and allspice berries into a large dry pan and toast over medium low heat until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  2. Add you salt, sugar, lemon juice and zest, shallots, and half your water to the pan, turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiled, turn off the heat and add your thyme, parsley and remaining water.
  3. Allow your brine mixture to cool and refrigerate to chill.

Fried Chicken

  1. Place the chicken in either a large ziplock bag or non reactive bowl and add your brine.  Allow the chicken to brine for 8-12hrs.  Afterwards, remove from brine, rinse and pat dry.
  2. Combine salt and pepper to your potato starch.
  3. Dredge your chicken pieces into your potato starch mix, and separate your pieces in a tray so that they match.  For example, have all your breast pieces together, leg pieces together, etc.
  4. Fill a large pan or pot with whichever oil or fat you choose to fry with until it reaches 350ºF.
  5. Carefully drop your chicken pieces into your hot oil or fat, being carefully not to overcrowd your pot or pan.  Cook the chicken till golden brown and cooked through, the internal temperature should reach 165ºF with a thermometer.
  6. Remove your chicken from the pot or pan and allow the excess fat and oil to drain on a rack or kitchen towel.  Allow the chicken to cool slightly before eating.

Notes:

  • By brining the chicken you create a more seasoned and succulent end product.  This is especially important when you’re cooking white meat such as breasts, which tend to dry out.
  • The addition of the sugar in the brine mix, creates a more balanced seasoning for the chicken rather than pure salt.  So the risk of having the chicken become too salty after brining is eliminated.
  • If you’re planning on doing and serving a large batch of chicken, you can keep your chicken pieces warm as you’re cooking them by having them placed in a 300ºF oven until you’re ready to serve.
  • I purposely omitted the amount in cooking oil or fat, because ultimately the amount will vary and be dependent on the size and shape of your pot or pan.
  • When choosing an oil or fat for deep frying, it’s important to choose one that has a high smoking point and won’t easily burn.  My personal favourites are either Lard or Peanut Oil, with Lard having the best flavour.
  • When choosing a cooking vessel, it’s better to use one that’s thick and can retain heat well.  Cast iron is a good option.  A high sided pot is also better than using a short sided pan, for the simple reason that it’ll help prevent any oil from splashing and spilling onto the stove.   
  • When cooking your chicken, it’s better to do them in batches rather than try to do them all at once and crowd the pan.  The reason being, you introduce a cold element (chicken) to the hot oil or fat which reduces the heat and cooking temperature.  If the temperature drops down too much, your chicken will sit in the oil for too long and become greasy as it cooks and comes back up to temperature.
  • After dredging and flouring your chicken, you separate them in order to help you organize and cook the chicken more consistently.  The breast meat and wings will take significantly less time than the thighs and drumsticks.  By organizing them beforehand and cooking each group of pieces separately, you maintain a more consistent and even cook on all your chicken pieces.
  • You could make your chicken extra crispy by adding a second coating of potato starch to the chicken pieces.  Crack 3-4 whole eggs, seasoned with salt and whisk until well mixed.  After the initial dredging, you dip your floured chicken pieces in the egg mix and dredge them again in the potato starch mix creating a double coating.
  • In the photos, I used spring onions and lemon wedges as a garnish.  The lemon isn’t purely for show, the fresh lemon juice helps cuts through the fat and oil from the chicken.
  • In the photos, I actually didn’t fry a whole breast of chicken.  Instead I separated the filets inside the breast and fried the filets and reserved the breasts for another application.

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