Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crispy, Crunchy & Spicy Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

As Americans, crispy, crunchy, golden fried chicken is our God-given right!  Right? Isn't it in the Constitution somewhere?  This staple of the picnic table is one that everyone needs to indulge in when the mood strikes...Southern Fried Chicken, Maryland Fried Chicken, Kentucky Fried Chicken (ehh...maybe not that one).  

Lucky we are to indulge at will...unless you have a gluten issue.  Then you can only stare wistfully at the platter, breathing in the siren aroma and pining for that old favorite once again.  It smells so good!  Why, oh why, isn't there damned good fried chicken that's gluten-free, too?  Look no further, HERE IT IS!

Crispy, crunchy, tender and juicy, spicy as you like and everything you remember from the best fried chicken back in the good old days.  I've been working on this one for the last 8 years - tweaking, adjusting, improving - and here it is. Soaked in buttermilk, hot pepper, hot sauce and chopped jalapenos, dredged in corn and rice flours spiked with more hot pepper and seasonings then fried until golden and crispy...heaven.   

Don't go thinking rice flour is just for gluten-free cooking!  Bobby Flay uses rice flour to get lots of crunch on his Fish & Chips and Onion Rings.  We all know Bobby knows the best way to "crunch-ify" everything!  

 Crispy, Crunchy & Spicy Gluten-Free Fried Chicken

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, stem removed, chopped - leave in seeds and ribs
  • 1/2 cup Tabasco sauce, the Buffalo hot sauce, if you can't find it, use Frank's
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper, Hot Shot (McCormick makes this...if you can't find it, use a mix of 3/4 freshly ground black pepper and 1/4 cayenne pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt, Jane's Crazy Salt (or other seasoned salt...but do yourself a favor and get Jane's!  Even Paula Deen used to use it before she created her knockoff version under her own, more expensive, brand.)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1 cup white rice flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned salt, Jane's again
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper, Hot Shot again
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 3 chicken breast halves, with skin, bone in - cut in half
  • 3 chicken thighs, with skin, bone in

Combine all marinade ingredients and marinate chicken overnight or at least several hours.

Mix dry ingredients.  When chicken has marinated, place dry ingredients in bag, then add chicken a few pieces at a time and shake well to coat, covering completely.  Remove pieces from bag and place on rack for at least 20 minutes to set coating. 

In the meantime, put canola oil in an electric skillet about an inch up the side.  Set control to 375 degrees and bring oil to temperature.  Or use your cast iron skillet - perfect.

Carefully place each piece of chicken in skillet skin side down.  Fry on each side until golden brown.  Don't hurry it.  Fry in batches - don't crowd.  Make sure each piece has no pink next to the bone...especially with thighs. When done and cooked through, remove to paper towels and keep warm in a 250 degree oven. When all batches are done, serve!

NOTE:  If you don't like your fried chicken as spicy as this sounds, cut back on the heat by leaving out the jalapeno or cutting back on the hot sauce.  No problem.  

One more thing.  As much as I love this stuff, the waistline only allows me to make it (and eat it) once a year.  Sadly, only once a year.

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