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La Belle Cuisine - More Poultry Recipes

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Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken




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La Belle Cuisine


Lemon-Brined Fried Chicken

Chef Thomas Keller, ad hoc
Food & Wine October, 2007

Food & Wine - One Year Subscription

Serves 8

“To make this juicy and delectably crisp chicken, Keller soaks it in a
lemony brine, then coats and fries it. The chicken, which is served
every other Monday at Ad Hoc, is one of the most popular dishes at
the restaurant.
‘Since Fried Chicken Night only happens twice a month,’ Keller
says, ‘people have a wonderful sense of anticipation.’ "

1 gallon cold water
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
12 bay leaves
1 head of garlic, smashed but not peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
3 large rosemary sprigs
1 small bunch of thyme
1 small bunch of parsley
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
Two 3-pound chickens
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cups buttermilk
Vegetable oil, for frying
Rosemary and thyme sprigs, for garnish

In a very large pot, combine 1 quart of the water with 1 cup of the salt
and the honey, bay leaves, garlic, peppercorns, rosemary, thyme and
parsley. Add the lemon zest and juice and the lemon halves and bring
to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the salt is dissolved. Let
cool completely, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of cold water. Add
the chickens, being sure they're completely submerged, and refrigerate
Drain the chickens and pat dry. Scrape off any herbs or peppercorns
stuck to the skin and cut each bird into 8 pieces, keeping the breast
meat on the bone.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder, onion powder,
cayenne and the remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Put the buttermilk in
a large, shallow bowl. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the
chicken in the buttermilk, then dredge in the flour mixture, pressing
so it adheres all over. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet lined
with wax paper.
In a very large, deep skillet, heat 1 inch of vegetable oil to 330 degrees
F. Fry the chicken in 2 or 3 batches over moderate heat, turning once,
until golden and crunchy and an instant-read thermometer inserted in
the thickest part of each piece registers 160 degrees F, about 20 min-
utes. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain, and keep warm
in a low oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Transfer
the fried chicken to a platter, garnish with the herb sprigs and serve
hot or at room temperature.

Wine - Alexis pours her robust, plummy 2004 Swanson Merlot with
fried chicken, as fried foods tend to work best with a full-bodied,
somewhat tannic wine that can cut through the richness of the
fried skin or breading. Another terrific Merlot is the rose-scented
2004 Pride Mountain Vineyards.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Annie Lou's Fried Chicken
Crunchy Fried Chicken (Marcelle Bienvenu)
The Immortality of Fried Chicken
Chicken Grand-mère Francine (Daniel Boulud)
Funky Brined Turkey (Emeril Lagasse)
Herb-Roasted Chicken (Chef Alain Ducasse)
Sautéed Chicken Maison (Jacques Pepin)
A Chef (Thomas Keller) Invents a Lobster Dish
Thomas Keller's Strawberry Sorbet Shortcakes
Thomas Keller's "Yabba Dabba Do"

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