“Buttermilk” Fried Chicken

I just returned from a road trip through the Deep South, where even the vegetables have pork in them.  You’ll probably see a few trip-inspired recipes over the next few months, but for this week, I wanted to do one that fit with the last few weeks of summer/picnic weather.  Traditional Southern fried chicken is soaked in buttermilk to keep the chicken juicy.  That’s obviously a non-starter kosher-wise.  To get the same effect — while keeping Kosher — I made my own buttermilk using soy milk and followed a recipe from “Country Living” magazine for the rest.  The chicken turned out moist on the inside and crispy on the outside, with not a taste of soy to be found!

Total time: 45 min. active, plus 2-12 hours unattended

Yield: 8 servings

Level: Moderate*

Ingredients

  • 2 cups minus 2 tbsp unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Combine vinegar and soy milk and let rest for 5-10 minutes, until it begins to look curdled.  Stir in Dijon mustard, 1 tsp salt, dry mustard, cayenne, and black pepper. Place chicken pieces in a gallon-size zip-top bag, and pour the buttermilk mixture over them.  Turn pieces to coat.  Seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. In a 13-inch by 9-inch by 2-inch pan, whisk together flour, baking powder, dry garlic, and ½ tsp salt. Add chicken pieces and turn to coat thickly. Let the chicken stand 10 minutes, turning occasionally to recoat with flour. Shake off excess flour before frying.
  3. Add ¾-1” oil to a 12” heavy-gauge, non non-stick skillet, fitted with a thermometer.  Heat over medium-high heat to 360 degrees.  Add the chicken and fry for about 10 minutes per side, turning with tongs.  Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust to keep it 350-360 degrees.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in 150 degree oven or tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat the procedure for the remaining batches. Serve warm or at room temperature.

*The steps of this recipe are not too difficult for a cook with reasonable skills, but you do need some equipment not everyone has: 1) a thermometer; 2) a non-nonstick skillet or deep, wide pot; 3) a wire rack to drain the oil (paper towels alone won’t work); 4) a splatter shield (not strictly necessary, but speaking as someone prone to burns, it’s useful).

© Courtney Weiner.  All Rights Reserved.