Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pan Fried Chicken and Onion Rings

I love onion rings. Check that. I love good onion rings. I loathe bad onion rings. Unfortunately, good onion rings are hard to come by. They are not that difficult to make, but do require careful attention to the temperature of the oil.

In my last culinary class, we covered pan frying. The chicken came out OK, but the onion rings were not good. Most of the coating fell off, and they were limp and greasy. I was not happy. I thought I would try at home, and get everything right.

I used boneless, skinless chicken leg quarters. I cut each leg quarter in half. You could just use boneless skinless thighs, which are more common. Boneless reduces cooking time, and makes it easier to get everything cooked evenly. I placed the pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pounded them to about one half inch thick.

In class, we used slightly different coatings for the chicken and onions. That was more complicated than I wanted to deal with for just the two of us. I used the same three stage method for both. Seasoned flour, beaten egg, seasoned bread crumbs. I used the same seasoning for both the flour and the bread crumbs. They were seasoned with cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground black pepper, and salt. If you are going to use the same coatings for vegetables and chicken, make sure to coat the vegetables first. That way you avoid potentially contaminating your coating with the raw chicken. Once coated, place the vegetables and and chicken in the freezer for ten minutes. This helps set the coating, and stiffens the food up a bit, making it easier to handle.

My original plan was two separate pans for the chicken and onion rings, but I only had enough oil for one pan. To compensate for that, I put a couple of plates lined with paper towels in a 250 F oven, so that I could keep everything warm will I cooked.

My pan would only comfortably hold three of the four pieces of chicken all at once. It's important to not over crowd the pan. Too much food will drag down the temperature of the oil, and everything will end up limp and greasy.

I'm happy with the results. The chicken turned out moist, with a nice crispy coating. The onion rings were tender on the inside, and crunchy on the outside. I made a spicy honey mustard dipping sauce to go with both. The honey mustard dip is spicy brown mustard, honey, cayenne, and garlic Tabasco sauce.


Pan Fried Chicken and Onion rings

2 boneless skinless chicken leg quarters, cut in to two pieces each
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch wide rings

flour coat:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

egg wash:
3 eggs, beaten

crumb coat:
1 1/2 cups dried fine bread crumbs
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Dredge onion rings in flour mixture. Thoroughly coat with egg wash, shaking off excess. Cover and press with crumb mixture, to ensure complete and even coverage.

Repeat procedure with chicken. Place chicken and onion rings in freezer for ten minutes.

Place two oven safe plates lined with paper towels in a 250 F oven.  In a large fry pan over medium to medium high heat, place about one half inch of vegetable oil. When oil is hot, carefully lower chicken into oil. Be careful not to crowd food into pan. When chicken is golden brown on the bottom, flip over.When fully cooked, transfer to a plate in the oven.

Repeat same procedure with the onion rings.

Honey mustard dipping sauce

1/3 cup spicy brown prepared mustard
3 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. Cayenne powder
3 splashes garlic Tabasco sauce

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Happy Eating!

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