I’m going to start today with an easy and excellent recipe for fried chicken. I’m afraid if I start with the Rocky Mountain Oysters (aka bulls testicles) you might decide to just move on! Fried chicken is one of my favorite things in the world. I don’t have it that often so it becomes an even bigger treat when I do!
BEST FRIED CHICKEN
This recipe is from Alton Brown, but I have altered it a bit.
I used all chicken thighs. Alton calls for 1 broiler/fryer chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 cups low-fat buttermilk. (I used full fat.)
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
I added 1 tsp. onion powder
Flour for dredging. (I dredged in flour and Panko bread crumbs combined.)
Vegetable oil for frying. (I used Crisco.)
Place chicken pieces into a plastic container or large glass bowl and cover with buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate 12-24 hours.
|I added a bunch of black pepper and a little oregano to the milk bath.
Place enough oil in a heavy skillet to come just 1/3 up the side. Heat to 325 degrees. Do not allow oil to go over 325. I had a hard time keeping the thermometer in the oil because the oil was spitting quite a bit and it was difficult to hold the thermometer and manage the chicken, but once you get it to the right temp, you can stick pretty close to 325.
Drain chicken in colander. Combine salt, paprika, garlic (and onion if using) powder, and cayenne pepper. Liberally season chicken with this mixture. Dredge chicken in flour (and Panko bread crumbs if using) and shake off excess.
Place chicken skin side down into the skillet. If you’re using a whole broiler, put thighs in center, and breast and legs around the edge of the pan. The oil should come half way up the pan.
Cook chicken until golden brown on each side, approximately 10-12 minutes per side. Internal temperature should be right around 180 degrees. Drain chicken on a rack over a sheet pan.
|I served with a big bowl of freshly steamed baby beet greens
from my friend Steve’s beautiful garden in Tumacacori!
BALLYMALOE IRISH CHEDDAR CHEESE CROQUETTES
These little balls are addictive. You can also form them into small logs similar to mozzarella sticks. The recipe is from Darina Allen, legendary Irish chef. She is like the Julia Child of Ireland and has a lovely cooking school, The Darina Allen School of Cookery in Ballymaloe, which is in County Cork in the south west part of the country. One of these days when we’re in Ireland I would love to take some classes.
15 ounces milk
1 small bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
4 parsley stalks
4 oz. butter
4 oz. white flour
2 organic egg yolks
8 oz. mature Cheddar, grated
|I used Kerry gold Reserve which is a rich, nutty and delicious cheddar!
1 Tbsp. chopped chives
Salt/freshly ground black pepper
Seasoned flour (with salt/pepper)
Fine dried breadcrumbs for rolling prior to frying.
Put the cold milk into a saucepan with the carrot, onion and herbs and bring slowly to the boil. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Strain the flavorings out of the infused milk and discard; or rinse them and add to a stockpot if you have a pot of stock on the go (which I always do!).
Make the roux: melt 4 oz. butter, add the 4 oz. flour, combine and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring occasionally.
Bring the milk back to the boil and whisk in the roux bit by bit; it will get very thick, but persevere (I love the way Darina talks!). There always seems to be too much roux, but you need it all, so don’t decide to use less.
Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes on a gentle heat, then remove from the heat. Stir in egg yolks, cheese and chives. Taste and correct seasoning. Spread out on a wide plate to cool.
|Once you add egg yolks and cheese the color becomes a deep golden.
|The dough is a bit rubbery and has lots of elasticity.
It’s fun to work with.
When the mixture is cold, or at least cool enough to handle, shape it into balls about the size of golf balls, weighing about an ounce each.
First roll them in the seasoned flour, then in beaten egg, and then in breadcrumbs, and chill until firm. Bring them back to room temp prior to frying or else they may burst. Just before serving, heat a deep fryer (I used a deep frying pan.) to 300 degrees, and cook the cheese croquettes until crisp and golden.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with a green salad, sweet chili jam, or a good tomato relish chutney. All good suggestions, but I served on their own as an hors d’oeuvre.
Cooked cheese croquettes can be kept warm in an oven for up to 30 minutes. They can also be frozen and reheated in an oven.
On to the most unusual thing I have ever
cooked or cleaned…next to chickens feet!
ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS…aka BULLS TESTICLES
|These testicles were ‘field dressed’ meaning cut right in the field.
They still had lots of grass/hay and organic materials.
Ok, the truth, these were pretty disgusting to clean. I have never done it before, but have seen them cleaned on cooking shows, so I just went with my instincts. I knew you had to remove the outer sheath, which is pretty tough so started by cutting the ends off and then slicing down the middle. The outer layer peeled off revealing what looked like a much more palatable interior.
I cut into bite sized pieces, rinsed well, and then soaked in milk for about an hour. Drain well in a colander and pat dry. Dredge in seasoned flour. Cover the bottom of a heavy, frying pan with olive oil and bring to high heat, but not smoking. Add the “oysters” and cook on each side until golden brown.
I had these delightful bites with our neighbors Brian and Lori so while I fried, Brian made a delicious red wine reduction sauce. This is what I think he used to make the sauce:
RED WINE REDUCTION SAUCE
2 cups good red wine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
2-3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Salt/Pepper to taste
Heat the butter in a saucepan until bubbly. Add shallot, garlic and cook until just translucent. Do not brown. Add wine and turn to high heat to reduce by half. Add second tablespoon of butter. Season with salt/pepper. Add more butter to make a richer sauce.
|Here’s Brian stirring the reduction. He likes to cook as much as I do!
|And here he is presenting this lovely appetizer!
Lori was tending the roasted baby sweet peppers which accompanied our meal.
My son and his girlfriend were visiting from Boston and their contributions were REAL oysters from Cape Cod, done both as Rockefeller and raw on the half-shell. Justin is an excellent cook and we always enjoy time together in the kitchen!
After all those appetizers we still managed a full meal of Duchesse mashed potatoes, the roasted peppers, baby back pork ribs with home-made BBQ sauce, AND braised short ribs (Thank you Trudy for the recipe. I will soon blog that one as it is a keeper!).
Tonight I am making a Citrus Chicken dish with Baby Potatoes and Carrots from Patti’s Mexican Table. I’m going to serve with steamed asparagus in butter. The house smells heavenly! And dessert, Mango Ice Cream with warm Mango Sauce.
ALL FOR NOW…GOT TO FINISH DINNER!
PLEASE KEEP HAVING FUN IN YOUR OWN KITCHENS!
|Soon off to Ireland…our house in Spiddal overlooks Galway Bay!