Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fried Chicken Hero!!


I gotta tell ya, the Gameday Gang has me on my toes coming up with something different and delish every weekend. The pressure is on and I've had to step up my game. This week I decided to go a little trendy and jump on the fried chicken bandwagon. At first I was going to go the chicken and waffles route (which, I may do at a later date), but then I decided to keep it simple with a good ol' Fried Chicken Hero!

As any good Homegater knows, heros are one of the quintessential foods of any sports-watching activity (besides wings, of course). They're relatively simple to make and success can be achieved with a variety of meat and vegetable combinations. I wanted to keep the focus on the chicken and so I added a few layers of flavor onto that and then complimented it with a salad-y topping. For this recipe I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I think thighs are juicier and don't dry out the way breasts tend to. This was especially important because I fried up the thighs ahead of time and kept them warm in the oven until it was time to assemble the hero.

I marinated the chicken in pickle juice for 90 minutes before breading and frying it. Not only did the pickle juice help to tenderize the meat, but it added a subtle tang that made it unique. I used plain bread crumbs and spiced it up myself and then made a shredded salad topping to compliment the fried aspect of the chicken. A nice, crusty piece of Italian bread is then all you need to round the dish out. Once assembled, the hero makes an impressive presentation. The gang couldn't wait to dig in.

Fried Chicken Hero
(serves 4-6)                                                  

5 chicken thighs
1 pint pickle juice
16 oz plain breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground back pepper
2 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp granulated onion
1 tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs, beaten
8 oz flour
half head of lettuce, shredded
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1 tsp garlic powder
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper to taste
1 loaf crusty Italian bread
vegetable oil for frying


1.  Pour pickle juice over chicken and let sit for 90 minutes.

2.  While the chicken is marinating, season the breadcrumbs with the salt, pepper, granulated garlic, granulated onion, smoked paprika and cayenne.  Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in 3 individual bowls.

3.  After 90 minutes remove from marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Dip the thighs into the flour, then the eggs and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on a platter or plate until all the chicken is coated in the breadcrumb mixture.

4.  Heat enough vegetable oil (about 2 inches deep) in a medium fryng pan on medium heat until it registers 375-degrees. Place 1-2 pieces of chicken into the pan and fry on both sides until the breading is golden. Remove from the pan and drain. Repeat until all the chicken is fried. (NOTE: check the internal temperature of the chicken to make sure it is 165-degrees. If it is not, place the chicken into a 350-degree oven and continue to cook until the chicken has reached 165-degrees) You can also use a deep fryer if you have one (follow the unit's directions for use).

5.  Toss the shredded lettuce and onion together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar.

6.  To Assemble:  slice the Italian bread and place enough chicken pieces to fill up the bread. Top with the shreaded lettuce and slice into individual portions. (Optional: you can add tomato slices, jalapeno slices, roasted peppers, pickles,....)

Once you bite into it, you'll notice that the chicken is tender and juicy. The salad topping balances out all the flavors. All you need is an ice cold pint of ale and you're in business.

So there you have it. Add this to your Gameday repertoire and you'll be a culinary "hero!"

Until next weekend, enjoy your games and keep on homegating!

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