Fried Chicken for a crowd
- Chicken Brine:
- 9 cups brown chicken stock
- 1 cup pickle brine (can be store-bought pickles and use that brine)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 orange, quartered
- 1/2 head garlic, split
- 1/2 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 whole chickens, cut into 10 even pieces
- Chicken Dredge:
- 1 quart all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- chicken spice: (use 2 tablespoons for recipe)
- 2 tablespoons seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Canola oil, for frying
- Hot Sauce, for serving:
- 4 pounds red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 pound jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
- 5 fish peppers, stemmed and seeded
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 ounces fresh thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
- 1 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 grams xanthan gum
- 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
- 4 limes, zested and juiced
- Bread and Butter Pickles, for serving:
- 2 1/2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 quart thinly sliced Spanish onions
- 2 1/2 cloves garlic
- 1 jalapeno, stems removed and split in half
- 1/2 cup salt
- 1/2 quart apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 quart white distilled vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon allspice
- 1/2 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tablespoon turmeric
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
For the brine: Combine the stock, brine, salt, seeds, bay leaf, oranges, garlic and thyme in a large pot and bring up to a high simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and cool the liquid to 40 degrees F and reserve until time to brine the chicken.
Add the chicken to the brine, place in the fridge and brine for 12 hours.
For the dredge: Combine the flour, cornmeal, cornstarch and Chicken Spice evenly in a large mixing bowl.
Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture and allow a minimum of 30 minutes for the flour to adhere. Re-dredge just before frying.
Heat 3 inches canola oil in a deep pot or a deep-fryer over high heat to 350 degrees F. A rule of thumb: If you drop a pinch of flour into the oil and it fries up immediately, you're good to go. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F and get ready a baking sheet with a rack.
Take the chicken out of the dredge, shake off excess flour and fry in batches until golden brown on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to the rack and sprinkle some of the chicken spice over the fried chicken pieces. Hold in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
Serve the fried chicken on a platter with Hot Sauce, Buttermilk Biscuits and Bread and Butter Pickles on the side.
Juice half of the red bell peppers. Pass through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
In a large pot, sweat out the remaining red bell peppers, the jalapenos, fish peppers, garlic and thyme. Add the vinegar, sugar, xanthan gum, white pepper, lime zest and juice. Simmer for 15 minutes. Puree with the juice from the bell peppers and pass through a fine mesh strainer. Season with salt.
Cook's Note: If you can't find fish peppers, can use any red mild pepper (scale of 4, so like a mild jalapeno).
Bread and Butter Pickles:
Toss the cucumbers, onions, garlic and jalapenos with the salt and macerate overnight in the fridge.
Combine the vinegars, sugar, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, allspice, celery seeds, red pepper flakes, turmeric, cloves and bay leaf in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Strain over the cucumbers. Cover and allow to cool to room temperature.