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A Southwest Summer: Spicy Cider Fried Chicken

A Southwest Summer: Spicy Cider Fried Chicken
A Southwest Summer: Spicy Cider Fried ChickenChef Larry Edwards/Casa de Cuisine

Fried chicken! It's as American as apple pie. Okay, apple pie isn't American (it's actually French) but for the case of this article let's pretend -- much like you pretend that crap you buy in stores is healthy.

First a word on frying chicken or really any fried food. It is not a bad or unhealthy way of cooking. You want proof, okay I'll give you proof. If you fry at a proper temperature (and you'll need a deep-fry thermometer to do this) what happens is the intense heat of the oil creates a protective crusting of the food. This happens quick and once it happens the food being fried now cooks from the inside out, thus the food doesn't trap any oils within itself. You might use a cup or so of oil to fry the food but if you measure it once your finished, you'll find you only actually used about a tablespoon or two.

What we are doing with this version of fried chicken is quite simple. We are adding taste, tenderizing the texture (naturally with the vinegar) and giving it a little BANG with the chili oil. In soaking the chicken in the chili oil and vinegar mixture, something interesting is happening. The vinegar, due to its acidity, is actually seeping through the skin of the chicken (one of the few natural products able to do this). It then seeps into the meat and tenderizes it. Of course the chili oil joins the vinegar and there you have the little extra added taste. Very simple and food science 101.

Ingredients needed to make Spicy Cider Fried Chicken (serves 4):

  • Chicken, any pieces you like
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. hot chili oil
  • flour for dredging
  • peanut or corn oil for frying

Steps:

  1. Remove any excess fat from the pieces of chicken, Remember, there is a difference between fat and skin -- leave the skin on!
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the cider vinegar and the chili oil.
  3. Add the chicken to the marinade, toss to coat and marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.
  4. In a large saute pan or skillet, heat a couple inches of oil over medium high heat until it reaches 350 on a deep-fry thermometer.
  5. Remove the chicken from the cider mixture and pat dry.
  6. Dredge (coat) the chicken in flour.
  7. Carefully place the chicken into the pan and fry 5 minutes per side.
  8. Lower the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook 10 minutes per side.
  9. Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate and let rest 5 minutes.
  10. Place on plates and enjoy!

The new cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards is now available from Amazon.com and bookstores worldwide. One of the most anticipated cookbooks of the year, "Edwardian Cooking: Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals."