Friday, April 22, 2016

King of Comfort Foods....... 
Fried Chicken
There's a resurgence in the restaurant scene and that is comfort foods. The kinds of foods that make you feel good and remind you of sitting at Mom's kitchen table. Whether it be Meatloaf, Pot Pie or Chicken Fried Steak, all these dishes give us a certain amount of warmth and happiness. 

Arguably for me, the king of comfort foods is fried chicken. You will
Cocoa Cola Fried Chicken
see more and more different fried chicken dishes on restaurant menus this year.  For example, KFC just released their 
Memphis Fried Chicken with spicy pepper glaze.  On other menus I have seen such samples as Sweet Tea Fried Chicken with honey and lemon. My favorite comes from a micro regional cuisine in Alabama. 

The dish..... Cocoa Cola Fried Chicken. Chicken that is marinated in a cocoa cola brine, then dredged in spices and fried using a flavorful batter and seasoned flour. The end result is a piece of chicken that is unique in flavor, very juicy and suitable as a stand alone entree, salad or sandwich.  Here's my rendition of Cocoa Cola Fried Chicken.  Whip up some potato salad and Cole slaw and let the comfort begin! Oh, and don't forget the pickles. I hope you enjoy it.

Chef Joe

Cocoa Cola Fried Chicken

Cocoa Cola Brined Chicken:
8 each Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast,
     lightly pounded to 1/4" thickness
5 cups Cocoa Cola
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
8 sprigs Fresh Thyme
5 cloves garlic, mashed with the side of a chef's knife
4 teaspoons Hot Sauce, I recommend Cajun Chef
1 teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper

Directions : Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well until the salt has dissolved. Reserve

Fried Chicken Spice: 
3 teaspoons Kosher Salt 
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika 
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper 
1 1/2 teaspoons Rubbed Sage 
1/2 teaspoon Dried Rosemary
 1 teaspoon Onion Powder 
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

Fried Chicken Batter:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
3 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Black Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 each Egg
2 1/2 cups Water

Directions: in a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and spices; blend well. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, egg and water.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while mixing with a wire whip. Continue mixing until a smooth batter is achieved. Reserve

Seasoned Flour:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon Fried Chicken Spice

Directions: combine flour and spice in a mixing bowl and blend well.  Reserve

To Prepare:
1) Place the chicken breast in the brine and cover with plastic  wrap.  Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow the chicken  to marinate for 8 hours.

2)  Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with a clean a
       paper towel.

3)  Lay the chicken on a parchment lined sheet tray. Season both
      sides of the chicken liberally with the chicken spice. Cover with 
      plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours

4)  In a large cast iron skillet, pour vegetable oil 1/3 of the way up
     the side of the skillet. Place over medium high heat and heat
      oil to 350 degrees.

5)  Working in batches, dredge the chicken breast in seasoned flour.
       Dip in the chicken batter and allow excess to drain off. Return to 
       the seasoned flour and coat completely. Gently place into the
       heated oil and cook for 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove
       the chicken to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess oil.

Cocoa Cola Fried Chicken Salad

Cocoa Cola Chicken Sandwich

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