If barbecue holds the key to my heart, fried chicken may be a close second. Colby and Megan Garrelts, owners of Rye, fry up a version that gets high marks in todays restaurant review. (Be sure to take our favorite fried chicken poll.)
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
Coincidentally Ryes fried chicken is featured in this months Saveur magazine. But I could see when I first ate at the restaurant in January that this was a bird everyone would be clucking about so The Stars special Food Issue in March featured a home cooks version of the restaurants fried chicken tested by Come Into My Kitchen columnist Mary G. Pepitone, so Im a posting it on Chow Town for those who missed it the first time around.
Ryes Fried Chicken
Makes 1 chicken or 8 pieces
1 fresh, organic frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
For the brine:
6 cups water
1/4 cup salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons honey
4 bay leaves
15 whole cloves
2 1/4 teaspoons pepper
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh thyme with stems
1 lemon, zested and juiced
For the slurry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 cups water
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
4 tablespoons table salt
4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons black pepper
For the dredging mixture:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 (48-ounce) bottle vegetable oil
Place chicken pieces into a jumbo-sized resealable plastic bag. Set aside.
To make the brine: Into a large saucepot, whisk water, salt, sugar, honey, bay leaves, cloves, pepper, parsley, thyme and lemon juice and zest together. Stir over medium heat on stovetop until sugar and salt dissolve and mixture starts to simmer.
Take off heat and allow to cool. Pour liquid into plastic bag over chicken, seal and place in refrigerator for 24 hours, periodically turning bag, so all pieces remain in brine.
Remove chicken from brine and rinse with water. Pat dry with paper towels and put chicken pieces on a wire rack, placed on a baking sheet. Put uncovered rack of chicken back into refrigerator for another 24 hours, to allow skin to dry out.
To make the slurry: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, water, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Place brined and refrigerated chicken into mixture for 5 minutes.
To make the dredging mixture: In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt.
To prepare chicken: Remove chicken from slurry and coat each piece separately in dredging mixture. Place chicken pieces, one by one, on a clean baking sheet, allowing the dredging mixture to set.
Pour enough vegetable oil into a 14-inch cast-iron pan so that it comes within 1 inch of the top of the skillet. Warm oil over medium-high heat on stovetop until it reaches 350 degrees when tested with an oil thermometer. (If you don't have a large enough cast-iron skillet, you can use two pans, or fry chicken in batches. Do not crowd chicken in pans.)
Using tongs, carefully add dredged chicken to oil. Keep monitoring oil to maintain a consistent temperature by adjusting heat. Add breasts and thighs to pan first, followed by legs and wings.
Using tongs, turn chicken as needed to avoid over-browning. Smaller pieces may take 10 to 15 minutes, while larger pieces may need to fry 20 minutes. Fry until an instant-read meat thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into thickest parts of chicken without touching the bone.
Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Place chicken in an oven-safe dish and keep warm in an oven set to 170 degrees or bring immediately to table.
Per serving, including skin: 562 calories (75 percent from fat), 47 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrates, 17 grams protein, 620 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.