I had always thought fried chicken was difficult and time-consuming to make. Not so! Especially if someone else does it all for you. Last weekend, Jerad voluntereed to make a batch of Rosemary Fried Chicken, a recipe we found in Everyday Food. I can't take any credit for this because I did nothing to help prepare the chicken, which was tender, juicy, crispy and flavorful (you could really taste the rosemary). I did, however, make a pot of delicious (if I do say so myself) fresh-from-the-garden beet greens to go with it.
8 chicken legs and 8 chicken thighs (about 3 1/2 pounds total)
2 cups low-fat buttermilk
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs
2 cups vegetable oil, such as safflower
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line one large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; place a wire rack over a second rimmed baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine chicken, buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside (or refrigerate up to 2 days).
- In another large bowl, whisk together flour, paprika, chopped rosemary, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Lift chicken from buttermilk, a few pieces at a time (allowing excess to drip off), and dredge in flour mixture (shaking off excess); transfer to foil-lined sheet. Dredge chicken in flour mixture a second time; return to sheet.
- In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet (or a 5-quart Dutch oven), heat oil and rosemary sprigs over medium-high. When rosemary sizzles rapidly, remove and discard. In three batches, fry chicken until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side; transfer to prepared rack. (If chicken browns too quickly, reduce heat.)
- Remove foil; set a rack on that baking sheet. Transfer half the chicken to this empty rack. Bake chicken on both racks until an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh registers 165, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. (To store, let cool, then layer between paper towels; refrigerate up to 1 day. If desired, bring to room temperature before serving.)
You don't need a thermometer for the oil -- once the rosemary sprigs are hissing, it's time to add the chicken. Frying time is cut in half by finishing the chicken in the oven.