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Old 10-11-2006, 01:33 PM   #51
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The aesthetics of eating Fried Chicken dictate that one pick it up with ones hands, and that it be on the bone.
AHAHAHA! I knew something like this was coming!

1. And thou shalt putteth thy chicken wing in the flour and shake thrice. Thou shalt not shake once, nor twice, nor four times...

What I appreciate about Alton's way of cooking is how he approaches a problem. It's very similar to the way I solve quandaries. Act, assess, modify, act. I keep an open mind and don't limit my options. The only thing on my "no-no" list is using heavily processed ingredients as shortcuts. I like everything to be from scratch (I actually felt uneasy scooping refined crisco out into the pan... I would have preferred lard). I'm not afraid to mess-up, so it's part of the fun coming out with something that looks like a meteor and saying, "What the $%#@ happened?!"

I've been training myself with french techniques over the past few years, and I've definetly ingrained those techniques and thought processes into my approach to cooking. The other thing is that I've been cooking out of the CIA textbook which is really designed for commerical applications, so much of my planning/mise en place has started to revolve around "Ok, how do I prepare this so that it can be 90% finished and then expedited at will?". I try to ignore that little voice, but sometimes it sneaks back in... Actually it's a great way to cook at home too, because it makes weekday meals extremely easy to whip out, and when entertaining I'm not going a mile a minute all evening in my kitchen.

Anyhoo, I'm rambling now. Gotta' break down that chicken and get it into the buttermilk for tomorrow...

I really appreciate all these opinions though. It really helps me with the whole process!

Oh - Alton Brown did graduate from The New England Culinary Institute, so he certainly does have real experience cooking in good commerical restaurants. It's a 2yr full-time program quite similar to the CIA's. Believe it or not it's actually even more expensive than the CIA with even smaller class-sizes from what I hear.
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Seven S - I'm giving the deep fryer method a try tomorrow! I'm going to try both boneless and bone-in pieces, as well as buttermilk marinated and unmarinated pieces. If I don't like it I will be heading back to the big-ole Lodge skillet with Crisco/Lard.
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jennyema - White sauce is definetly one of my favorites, both veloute and bechamel. I make thin versions for quick trashcan stews, medium viscosity versions for gravy, and thick versions for casserole bases. Often I blend the two using both stock and milk which provides a really rich flavor and mouthfeel. I believe I read somewhere that a real bechamel is actually a veloute that is enriched with heavy cream, but that most restuarants just use all milk. Indeed I think both stock and milk used together yield the best result (personal opinion of course).
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:41 AM   #52
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Alright, I have to go fire up the deep fryer and dredge the chicken pieces.

I'm trying out a few beer batter recipes today too for some other items. A friend gave me a couple recipes to try and compare with my current beer batter. Going to try it on some broccoli, onions, haddock strips, and chicken breast strips. Good thing I have some people to pawn all this off on today...

I'll be back later with my fried chicken results.
Oh, I have to make a couple pans of gravy too - man I better get going...
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:43 AM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
Often I blend the two using both stock and milk which provides a really rich flavor and mouthfeel. I believe I read somewhere that a real bechamel is actually a veloute that is enriched with heavy cream, but that most restuarants just use all milk. Indeed I think both stock and milk used together yield the best result (personal opinion of course).

Actually, I agree about the 1/2 and 1/2 making for a more flavorful sauce!

Disagree about def. of bechemel. We have had some spirited discussions about Mother Sauces here . That's for a different thread.

I am glad you have a gang to try your recipes on. I use my co-workers as lab rats quite often.

P.S. Don't use a regular pressure cooker with oil, but you probably know that.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:47 AM   #54
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I have a 1gal GE Basket-Style Deep Fryer.
Waiting for the oil to heat up right now...
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:30 PM   #55
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Wink Fried Chickie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
I have a 1gal GE Basket-Style Deep Fryer.
Waiting for the oil to heat up right now...
Can't wait to see how it turns out for you !! Iam so hungry for fried chicken now- after reading this thread for days-- lol, but do enjoy it !
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Old 10-12-2006, 12:46 PM   #56
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Alright, I figured out a couple things.

1. Frying with solid fat in a cast iron pan creates a richer crust on the chicken. It's very different from deep frying in oil. The oil-fried chicken did seem a bit more light and crispy, but solid fat rules here...

2. This time I marinated half the chicken in buttermilk, and left the other half unmarinated. Massive difference with the buttermilk chicken. However I went further. Before I went to work last night I added a couple pieces into a separate container with buttermilk, and when I got home this morning I threw some more in yet another container. This gave me 4hr, 12hr, and 20hr batches. I noticed next to nothing with only four hours in the buttermilk. The 12hr had a bit of a change, but the 20hr was amazingly tender. I think 20-24hrs makes a huge difference! The surface/mass ratio of the pieces was another important factor. The thick thighs and whole breast-halves didn't have complete penetration even after 20hrs. The butterflied breasts were the best by far. The buttermilk also created a thicker crust as it grabbed more flour. I think it helps the crust to brown better as well (the unmarinated pieces all had a light-gold coloration, while the marinated pieces were golden-brown).

With these findings, I'm going to refine some more and try one more recipe tomorrow. Butterflied breasts and boneless thighs marinated 24hrs in buttermilk, floured, and pan-fried in solid-fat with the big-ole' Lodge pan.

I have the two gravy trials going as I type (one with roux made from crisco from yesterdays fried chicken, and one with roux made from rendered chicken fat).
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Old 10-12-2006, 03:58 PM   #57
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Ok, fried chicken isn't happening tomorrow - lots of stuff at work to do. Hopefully sometime this weekend it'll happen.
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Finished the gravies. According to my taste-tester with blind trials there is very little difference between a gravy based on a roux made with the cooking crisco, and one with rendered chicken fat. Personally, I taste a difference and prefer the gravy made with a shmaltz based roux. It's small, but noticeable.

I think either way is more than acceptable when it comes down to it.
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So I guess things for me will have to wait until Sat/Sun.
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:01 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher
Ok, fried chicken isn't happening tomorrow - lots of stuff at work to do. Hopefully sometime this weekend it'll happen.
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Finished the gravies. According to my taste-tester with blind trials there is very little difference between a gravy based on a roux made with the cooking crisco, and one with rendered chicken fat. Personally, I taste a difference and prefer the gravy made with a shmaltz based roux. It's small, but noticeable.

I think either way is more than acceptable when it comes down to it.
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So I guess things for me will have to wait until Sat/Sun.

I was beginning to wonder if all you do is fry !

It surprises me that there wasn't more of a diff between the two gravies. I would have assumed that the schmaltz one would have a greater depth of flavor.
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:03 PM   #59
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Nicholas you are killing all of us with your testing. Especially those of us who are fried chickenaholics. Will you adopt me?

You remind me of a book I recently read and you should read, My Life in France, by Julia Child. She chronicles her testing and writing of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Awesome book and a "must" read for someone like you.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:24 AM   #60
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Sounds like a great book!

Have a bunch of stuff to do today, and I forgot to put the chicken in the buttermilk, so I won't get around to trying another method until tomorrow.

Bummer.
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