Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Salute to the Colonel

It's been years since I've had "KFC," and of course it's been even longer since any of us have had the original Colonel Sanders "finger lickin' good" recipe that was destroyed in the various corporate handoffs that absorbed his franchise.
Nevertheless, I think I'm not alone in getting a craving now and then for that particular blend of herbs and spices that went into the original batter. So today for no particular reason, I thought I would give it a try, based on my recollection. And not to brag, I think the result was good enough you may want to try it. My recipe borrows from a favorite tandoori chicken marinade. The original Kentucky Fried Chicken used a big pressure cooker full of lard. Not having a tandoor or a pressure cooker (or lard, for that matter), I improvised.
This works for a whole chicken or the equivalent of parts for about 3 pounds (1.3 kilograms) of chicken (The photo shows chicken "tenders" which are slices of breast. Skinless parts, especially white meat, are apt to get dry in the cooking process, so this is where the tandoori chicken technique comes in:
Blend one beaten egg and six tablespoons of plain (unflavored, unsweetened) yogurt in a bowl and add the chicken, rolling it around to cover with the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
The coating:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp. sage
2 tsp basil
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp. clove
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp Ajinomoto or Accent

Combine the dry ingredients in a paper bag. (Maybe two paper bags, since bags are also not made like they were back when the Colonel was alive.)

I have a good set of stainless cookware that works nearly as well as a pressure cooker. Use what you have, but definitely cover the pan while cooking. Add enough oil (I use half canola and half olive oil) heat to smoke, then reduce the heat a little before adding the chicken. Crisco will make the chicken more crispy, but it's not as flavorful as lard and of course neither Crisco nor lard are as healthy as the oil.

Drop the chicken pieces in the bag of flour mixture, close the bag and shake it a few times to coat the chicken evenly. This is the messy part, but worth it. Gently place the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil. Be careful, because the cold chicken may spatter, even if it's coated with the batter mixture. Cover and cook 10 minutes, then turn the pieces and cook another 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F (160C)

Remove the chicken to drain the oil, then move the pieces to a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes.

That's it.