Serves: 4 or 8 depending on size of chicken pieces
It is well worth getting into the habit of brining your chicken-whatever the recipe-as the results are mouth-wateringly evident. Not only does the chicken have exceptional flavour, it also remains tender and moist (sorry-no other word) after cooking. This of course means you have to plan ahead and leave enough time to brine the chicken pieces. If you are worried about the chicken being cooked through, a temperature probe is your best friend and should read at least 75˚c when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken. I have a Thermapen which I can’t recommend highly enough-one of the few probes that give you an instant reading.
- For the brine
- 45g Maldon salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- ½ lemon
- 8 chicken pieces, drumsticks and thighs
- To finish the dish
- 2 x 284ml pots buttermilk
- 230g self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion granules
- 1 teaspoon garlic granules
- ½ teaspoon chilli powder
- Oil for deep-frying, about 1-2 litres
- For the brine, put the salt, garlic cloves, rosemary, thyme and lemon in a saucepan. Pour in 450ml water and bring to the boil. Stir to dissolve the salt. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 30 minutes. Pour in 450ml ice cold water. Stand a large freezer bag in a mixing bowl and pour in the cold brine. Add the chicken pieces and seal. Leave overnight in the fridge.
- The next day lift the chicken out of the brine and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and set aside. Pour the buttermilk into a mixing bowl. In another bowl mix together the flour, paprika, onion and garlic granules and chilli powder. Season with a little salt and ground black pepper.
- Dip each chicken piece into the flour, then coat in the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Finally coat in the flour and place on a baking tray. Heat the oven to 150˚c, 130˚c, mark 2.
- Heat the oil to 170˚c in a deep-fryer or very deep saucepan. Carefully lower 2-3 chicken pieces into the oil and fry for about 12 minutes, turning them over to cook the chicken evenly. Transfer to a clean roasting tin and keep warm in the oven while you fry the remaining chicken pieces. Serve with celeriac remoulade, or coleslaw and hot sauce.