Monday, June 15, 2009

Sunday Night Fried Chicken (Donald Link)

Hopefully most of you have read the article about Donald Link on the front page of the American Press this Monday June 15. While I did not write that article it comes at an opportune time for me. For those who may not read it I will render a thumbnail sketch. Chef Link grew up in this area. Learned to cook at his grandpa's knee. Also pick up pointers from other family members. Went to New Orleans to cook, went to California to cook, came back to New Orleans to cook. Opened Herbsaint with the help of his former boss, Susan Spicer. Has since opened Cochon, Cochon Butcher and the Calcasieu Rooms. Became an award winning chef with national recognition. Herbsaint is a French style bistro with heavy Louisiana influences, Cochon celebrates the cooking he grew up with, Butcher is also a tribute to the family run butcher shops of Southwest Louisiana, and the catering operation of the Calcalsieu rooms acknowledges where he came from. Check this website for more info.

Chef Link has just written and released a cookbook called Real Cajun (Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link,s Louisiana). I received a press copy and so as my tribute to local man made good for the next month or so I will be cooking out of it and letting you look over my shoulder. These days I rarely follow a recipe exactly but I will let know when I deviate.

Below is a small yard bird that I bought at farmer's market. It is probably only 2 lbs whereas the recipe calls for a 3 to 4 lb bird. The cut on it follows the recipe (breast cut in 4 pieces) except I have added the back cut into two pieces. This is how my mother did it. The back were her special pieces. As I have said before and will probably say again she was a bone sucker a trait I pick up from her. Best tasting meat is bone in.

Below is the spices added to the chicken pieces which were then tossed and left to sit overnight.
Kinda like a rub but not
The chicken was then soaked in buttermilk. I let mine sit in the frig for another hour after that. The recipe does not call for that I just did it.

The pieces were taken out of the buttermilk allowing excess liquid to drip off. When all were in the clean bowl all purpose flour was added and the pieces tossed to coat. They were then piece by piece taken from the flour and shaken to remove excess. Mine went into a stove top fryer to be deep fat fried with vegetable oil. Since they were small pieces they took only 10 minutes. The recipe calls for them to be pan fried in a black iron skillet preferably with lard or bacon drippings.

The final product

The back and a wing with a sweet potato mash made with whole milk buttermilk was my meal. The next day cold chicken from the frig.

My assessment of the recipe if that it clear,well thought out and simple to follow. The resulting product is well season chicken meat with a sturdy crunchy crust. This one is a keeper. The overnight contact with the spices and hot sauce left the meat tasty. The crust was perfect. If you want a little more umph to the crust I recommend adding some hot sauce to the buttermilk and soaking at least an hour.


Dom and Nan said...

Looks good, Bear. Thanks for posting it. We've just started getting into fried chicken....will do the buttermilk wash next time.

FLU said...

Looks good. I've always used Austin Leslie's recipe that I found on this site, and it turns out great--

Still, when it comes to fried chicken, Gus's in Memphis is incomparable.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much how I've always done my fried chicken. I let is soak in buttermilk and hot sauce..I then roll it in flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne..back in liquid...back in flour. Then fry it and let it drain on a brown paper bag. Not sure why..that's just how my mom and grandma always did it.