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Fried Yardbird
American
Main
Over 2 hours
Chicken
Medium
Serves
4

The original, and the best, fried chicken around.

The New Orleans chef Leah Chase said it to Julia Child, and there’s nothing more true. “I don’t care where you’re from or who you are. There’s nothing like a good piece of fried chicken.” I went for dark meat only for our fried chicken. It’s juicier, and it’s got the crunch that I love hearing

Start the day before with this one.

Extracted from Red Rooster Harlem The Cookbook, by Marcus Samuelsson, published by Pavilion Books, photography by Bobby Fisher

Recipe courtesy of
Ingredients

Fried Chicken

  • 2 litres water
  • 260g/9¼ oz coarse sea salt
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 500ml/17fl oz buttermilk
  • 180ml/6fl oz coconut milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Chicken Shake, plus additional for serving (see below)
  • Groundnut oil for frying
  • 280g/10oz plain flour
  • 45g/ ½ oz semolina
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground white pepper

Chicken Shake

  • 4 tablespoons Berbere
  • 4 tablespoons hot smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons celery salt
  • 1½ teaspoons garlic granules
  • 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt

Berbere (you can buy this pre-mixed in most major supermarkets)

  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 or 4 allspice berries
  • 6 cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 8 tablespoons dried onion flakes
  • 5 stemmed and deseeded De Arbol chillies
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Method
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Method

For the fried chicken

  1. Put 500ml/17fl oz of the water and the salt in a saucepan over a high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Pour into a large container, add the remaining water and cool to room temperature. Add the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 hours. Drain.
  2. Whisk the buttermilk, coconut milk, garlic and chicken shake together in a 23cm x 32cm/9in x 13in baking dish. Submerge the chicken in the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Fill a large saucepan one-third full with ground nut oil. Set over a medium-high heat and heat to 180°C/350°F.
  4. Coat the chicken while the oil heats. Put the flour, semolina, cornflour, and white pepper into a bowl and whisk to combine. Let any excess marinade drip off the chicken, then roll in the flour coating, packing it on. Place on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. If the coating looks damp, roll it in the flour again.
  5. Working in batches, fry the chicken until it is a rich brown and has an internal temperature of 75°C/165°F, about 10 minutes per batch. Keep an eye on the heat and adjust it to keep the oil between 180°C/350°F and 190°C/375°F. Drain on a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
  6. Season the Yardbird with a sprinkle of chicken shake.

For the chicken shake

  1. Whisk 4 tablespoons berbere , 4 tablespoons hot smoked paprika, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons freshly ground white pepper, 2 tablespoons celery salt, 1½ teaspoons garlic granules, and 1½ teaspoons coarse sea salt together.
  2. Store in a jar, out of the light. It will keep for 6 months.

For the berbere

  1. Put 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds, ½ teaspoon black peppercorns, 3 or 4 allspice berries, 6 cardamom pods and 4 whole cloves into a small frying pan.
  2. Toast over medium heat, swirling the pan, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Pour the seeds into a spice grinder and cool. Add 8 tablespoons dried onion flakes and 5 stemmed and deseeded De Arbol chillies. Grind to a fine powder.
  3. Put the spice powder into a bowl and whisk in 3 tablespoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg, ½ teaspoon ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  4. Store in a sealed jar, out of the light, for up to 6 months.

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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