By Tim O’Connor
It’s called Southern fried chicken, but we Canadians are brought up to love the stuff.
We start as kids infatuated with chicken fingers or nuggets, and we grow into fried-chicken-chewing adults. Yet, most of us never make it at home because it’s intimidating. It doesn’t need to be.
We have this notion that we need a whole day and a massive kitchen because we’ll be breading chicken 5,000 times, and then you need a big deep fryer or giant pot of oil.
Really, all you need is a shallow pan with enough oil to cover a third to half of the chicken. I prefer a Dutch oven because it holds the heat better. It also seems more authentic, and the more beat-up your Dutch oven is, the better.
Making fried chicken is easy. We’ve got to bring back the days of Shake ‘n’ Bake. It can be as easy as putting chicken in a paper bag with your flour mix and shaking it, then frying it in a pan with oil and finishing it in the oven. Air fryers also work, though I prefer my fried chicken in a pan.
I start with a marinade of salt, pepper, sour cream and milk or butter milk. The bacteria in the sour cream or buttermilk tenderize the chicken and gives it that tang. You can also use coconut cream and milk, about a 50-50 mix, with a teaspoon or tablespoon of rice wine vinegar or other vinegar. You can add egg for thickness, but it’s not necessary. I add a little Tabasco sauce for heat. Put it with the chicken in a Zip-loc bag in a bowl in the fridge for two to eight hours, the longer the better.
So put your floured apron on, turn up some good old country music, get your Southern drawl on and shake, fry and bake some tasty chicken.
Tim O’Connor grew up in the Glebe and is head chef at Flora Hall Brewing.
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 cup panko
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
Feel free to add spices. Whiz all quickly in a food processor to break down panko.
Season chicken with salt and pepper, then bathe 2 to 8 hours in equal parts sour cream and 3.5 milk; or 2 parts sour cream to 1 part skim; or just pure buttermilk.
Working in batches, toss wet chicken in breading until coated. Rest on baking rack or plate for 15 minutes to 30 minutes to help set breading.
When oil is ready (145C or when bubbles appear around a wooden spoon in pan) cook 4 to 6 minutes per side, and an additional 8 minutes in a 350F oven.