Fried Chicken for People Who Don’t Think They Can Make Fried Chicken

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Fried Chicken is as delicious as anything else on earth, isn’t it? Like, there are a lot of nice things out there, but crispy, beautifully seasoned, juicy, hot fried chicken is as good as any of them. I feel sure of it.

There are a host of reasons people don’t make their own FC at home: they’re worried about deep frying, they’re afraid of undercooking the chicken, they think it won’t be as good as a restaurant version, they fear it’ll be a huge faff. They’re all valid worries, but this recipe is an attempt to address them all and allow everyone to have the most shatteringly crispy, succulent chicken they’ve ever eaten without scaring the horses.

If you don’t fancy boning out chicken legs to make this (and that’s quite understandable) buy pre-filleted thighs or legs, with the skin still on if you can, but don’t use breasts, as they go against so much of what makes this recipe really work in the way it does.

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Also, much of the magic here is in the flour coating. I suppose if there’s any such thing as a secret, it’s the onion and garlic powders. They seem to have the ability to make almost anything taste a little more… American. Try it with other stuff; chunks of pork belly, oiled slices of aubergine, pieces of fish. The appeal is very universal.

For 2-4 people (depending on what you’re eating these with) you will need:

  • 3-4 chicken legs, boned and cut into 2″/4cm dice, or around 700g skin-on thigh fillets, cut to the same size.
  • 200ml plain flour
  • 2tsp paprika
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp fine salt
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • Oil, for frying

If you’re cutting up your chicken legs yourself, once you’re done, trim off any skin that isn’t attached to a piece of meat, but no more than that (the skin is a huge part of the appeal) and then dice into roughly 2″ square pieces.

Put all the dry ingredients into a big ziplock bag (or a large bowl, if you feel so inclined), seal, and shake until you have a uniform powder. Add the chicken pieces to the bag, seal again, and turn it until all the chicken is covered pretty evenly.

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Put a large frying pan on a medium heat, and add enough cooking oil to make it the best part of a centimetre deep, but no more.

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You’ll probably need to cook the chicken in two batches, so put a bowl lined with kitchen paper in a warm oven and, if you have such a thing, a draining rack over the top of it (I usually use the rack that came with a roasting tin).

Once the oil has warmed up (if you have a kitchen thermometer handy, it should be at about 180ºC, but this isn’t a deal breaker. We’re just after hot oil) add enough chicken pieces to make one layer in the pan and cook for around 4-5 minutes before turning and cooking for a further 4-5 minutes. You’re after a deep, golden brown colour. You’ll probably need to ride the temperature up and down a little during this process but, turning aside, leave the chicken in the pan alone, by and large. Remove the first batch to the rack in the oven, and repeat til you’ve cooked the lot. If you’re lucky, it’ll be done in two goes.

And that’s it! Easy, right?

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Eat it with whatever you think you should be eating fried chicken with. I feel it’d be as at home beside a zingy green salad as it would be with chips. We had ours with some very simply roasted potato wedges and corn on the cob, with lemon slices to squeeze over the lot. It was delicious, and everyone had a little more than they intended to, just as it should be.

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