Pollo Frito ~ Crispy Fried Chicken

I will never claim to be the best fried chicken maker, but it was tasty!!! Recipe adapted from tips I received from friends and watching many, many hours of “Triple D”…LOL!! Happy Thursday! That is “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, if you were wondering. The first time I fried  a small batch of bone in chicken it was not a pretty site. It was the frying temperature that was all wrong. Then I caught an episode of Triple D, where they stressed a lower temperature so that the chicken cooked all the way through and the exterior would be  beautiful, golden and crispy. It was the best  bone in fried chicken I have prepared to date. I have fried a variety of chicken tenders or pieces with great success, but the challenge was to try some real fried chicken without burning the outside. I only wish I had more pictures of the prepping of the chicken to share with you on this blog post. I pulled this recipe from my older files and thoought it was worth sharing. For me, this is one of those recipes that I will cook once in a while or for a special dinner. I love all things fried, but it’s just not an everyday thing for me, that’s my reality, lol! As I always say, “everything in moderation”.
Pollo Frito~ Ectra Crispy Fried Chciken
Pollo Frito~ Extra Crispy Fried Chicken

Ingredients

The Brine
2 pounds bone in, skin on chicken thighs
4 cups water
4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons sugar

Buttermilk Wash
4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup buffalo hot sauce

Flour Dredge
3 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon salt
3 teaspoons msg…yes, that’s what I said, lol!!(optional)
2 teaspoons chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric

You Will Also Need
About 5 to 6 cups of oil for frying

Extra Crispy Fried Chicken with a Spicy Honey Mustard Sauce
Extra Crispy Fried Chicken with a Spicy Honey Mustard  Wing Sauce from the Local Wing Shop Alliger’s. Tasty!

 

Directions

1. Transfer the chicken to a large plastic freezer bag. Mix the four cups of water with 4 tablespoons salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir well to combine and taste. It should be more on the salty side than the sweet side. Pour into bag with chicken and seal well. Marinate in the brine for at least 24 to 48 hours.

2. When ready to cook chicken, remove from refrigerator at least 40 minutes before. Drain and discard all of the brine, set chicken aside.

3. In one dish, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce, stir well to combine and set aside. In another dish, combine the flour with cornstarch and all of the seasonings, stir well, set aside.

4. In a heavy, deep pot, preheat the oil to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. One at a time, dredge each piece of chicken in the seasoned flour, then dip into the buttermilk, then back into the flour. Use your hands to press flour onto chicken. Transfer chicken pieces to lined baking sheet and let rest until oil comes up to temperature.

5. Fry only 2 to 3 pieces of chicken at one time so you do not overcrowd the pan. Fry the chicken for 17 to 19 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking time. Remove one piece of chicken and check the temperature with a meat thermometer, should read at least 165 degrees. Let chicken rest on a plate lined with paper towels for at least 15 to 20 minutes, it will be hot! Yields ups to 4 servings

Extra Crispy Fried Chicken!!
Extra Crispy Fried Chicken!!

Learning to Prepare Curry ~Two Ways

I know for sure that one of the flavors that I am attracted to the most when it comes to Indian foods is the smoky cumin. Not only the cumin, but all of the smoky, spicy and deep flavors that come from the garam masala  and all the spices are amazing. There are subtle hints of cinnamon that remind me of my favorite  Mexican mole recipe. For today’s blog post I prepared  my version of  Indian curry. Very often the curry is prepared with wonderful aromatics, such as garlic, ginger,  hot peppers, onion and a wide variety of spices. One of the staples as well is coconut milk or yogurt.  But just know that the most important ingredient for these curry recipes are the spices. Once you find that correct spice combination, you will be preparing curry on a regular basis. The first one is prepared with a light coconut milk, chicken, sweet peppers, hot peppers and chickpeas. The second one is a meatless curry with roasted butternut squash and chickpeas again. The meatless curry includes tomatoes ans tomato paste as the base for the sauce. A lighter version of curry, but filled with flavor!  I am really looking forward to trying my hand at a hearty beef curry and a spicy seafood green curry! To be continued….

 

Spicy Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

Spicy Chicken Curry with Chickpeas
Spicy Chicken Curry with Chickpeas

Ingredients

For Spice Blend

1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

*the last two can be adjusted according to your heat level. Also on the plate was a sea salt with crushed chiles. I was out of cardamom, but if you have it, add 1/2 teaspoon as well.

Curry Spice Blend
Curry Spice Blend

 

For Chicken
Olive oil
1 pound chicken tenders
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked pepper

For Curry
Olive or grapeseed oil
1 cup onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 serrano peppers, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 1/2  tablespoons tamarind paste
4 ounces tomato paste
2 roma tomato, diced
15 ounce can lite coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
Juice of 2 key limes
Salt to taste

You will also need
4 cups steamed yellow rice
Cilantro, green onions and lime wedges for garnish

Prepping for Curry
Prepping for Curry

Directions

1.  Measure out spices for curry spice blend.  Mix together and set aside. Season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with olive oil and set aside.

2. In a large skillet, preheat 3 tablespoons of grapeseed oil to medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the chicken for a few minutes per side. Remove from skillet and transfer to a plate.

3. In that same skillet at medium heat, add 1 more tablespoon of oil. Add the onion, garlic, serrano and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the curry spice blend and cook the spices until they become aromatic. Stir so they don’t burn.

4. Add all of the remaining ingredients for curry into the skillet. Stir well to combine and bring to a boil.  Taste for salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer, add chicken tenders back into the curry, Cover and continue cooking for 25 minutes. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro and more lime. Yields 4 hearty servings.

Spicy Chicken and Chickpea Curry
Spicy Chicken and Chickpea Curry

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

Ingredients

For Roasted Butternut Squash

2 pounds fresh butternut squash, sliced into chunks
salt
pepper
cumin
smoked paprika
garlic powder
chile de arbol or cayenne pepper
Grapeseed or olive oil

 

To Finish Curry Base

1 red onion, diced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 to 3 dried chile de arbol or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika or regular paprika
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon chile de arbol powder or cayenne pepper
salt to taste
14 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
2 tablespoons tamarind paste/concentrate
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
14 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

For Garnish
Cilantro
Chile oil
lime wedges

*Serve with naan bread and steamed rice. For a more mild curry, just add minimal quantities of the red pepper flakes, chile de arbol and hot chile powders. You could always serve the chile oil on the side for those who like their curry spicy.

 

Customize Your Spice Blends For Curry
Customize Your Spice Blends For Curry

 

Directions 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil paper. Add the butternut squash to baking sheet and season lightly with spices listed. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to mix and spread ot evenly. Roast for 30 minutes.

2. In a large pot, preheat 3 tablespoons of olive or grapeseed oil to medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onions, garlic and ginger, saute for 5 minutes. Add the chile de arbol (or red pepper flakes) and all the spices listed. Toast in the oil for about 30 seconds, stirring often.

3. Add in the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine. Bring to a boil, taste for salt and other spices. Add in the roasted squash, reduce heat and continue cooking at a simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Yields 6 servings.

Whole Wheat Naan Bread Infused with Thai Chili Garlic Sauce
Whole Wheat Naan Bread Infused with Thai Chili Garlic Sauce

Here is the link to look up the recipe for this wonderful Naan Bread. I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose and I added Thai Chile Garlic Sauce instead of garlic paste. Very tasty!!

http://www.binjalsvegkitchen.com/butter-garlic-naan-without-tandoor-oven1/

 

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry

 

Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry with Whole Wheat Naan Bread
Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry with Whole Wheat Naan Bread

 

Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza~ Preparing Whole Wheat Dough

During the cold months here in central New York, the oven gets more than a work out. I will never forget the first homemade  pizza dough recipe I read years ago. It instructed me to heat my oven temperature to 500 degrees F.! I was like, “No Way”, lol! For many, many years whenever I baked my homemade pizza, the highest the oven temperature would go is 450 dgrees F. I mean, what did I think the oven was going to do do at 500 degrees?? Make a darn good pizza, is what it does. I often forget how much I enjoy a whole wheat crust much more than the ones prepared with all purpose flour. For this recipe I thought I would make it extra special by stuffing the crust edges with cheese. One of the most simple, yet tasty things to do with homemade pizza. I would have liked to include a picture of stuffing the crust, but was losing the light quickly for good picture taking…next time!

Cheese Stuffed Crust Whole Wheat Pizza, Hawaiian Style
Cheese Stuffed Crust Whole Wheat Pizza, Hawaiian Style

1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 degrees)
1 tablespoon honey
2 1/2 to to 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
*I typically add about 3 cups when using all purpose flour.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

*cornmeal
*more olive oil

It's handy to keep a thermometer for various recipes
It’s handy to keep a thermometer for various recipes

For Cheese Stuffed Crust Pizza you will need
5 mozzarella chesse stick sliced into two shorter sticks.

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Tips~ The dough can be refrigerated for a day or two or frozen for a couple of weeks, I like to season any exposed crust with salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano.

For the first pizza, I did not stuff the crust with cheese and just added cheese, sauce and chopped pepperoni. My husband's favorite!
For the first pizza, I did not stuff the crust with cheese and just added cheese, sauce and chopped pepperoni. My husband’s favorite!

Tips~ A Quick Pizza Sauce. 1 cup garlic flavored tomato sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/3 teaspoon pepper and salt to taste. Good for 2(12 inch pizzas)

 

Hawaiian Style, Cheese Stuffed Crust Whole Wheat Pizza
Hawaiian Style, Cheese Stuffed Crust Whole Wheat Pizza

1. In a large bowl, add the yeast, warm water and honey. Gently stir and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Add 1 cup of flour, salt and olive oil.Stir well to combine. Gradually add in the remaining flour until soft dough form. Transfer to a glass bowl drizzled with olive oil. Cover and let rise for 40 minutes in a warm, dry space.

3. After 40 minutes, divide the dough into 2 equal dough balls. Knead each for a minute, transfer to a plate, cover loosely and let rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 500 degrees and adjust the oven rack to lowest shelf.

4. To prepare cheese stuffed crust, tansfer one dough ball to a baking sheet that is drizzled with olive oil and then a light layer of cornmeal. using your hands, press and form a 12 inch circle.

5. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and take your cheese stick pieces and form a circle around the dough’s outer edge. fold dough over cheese to cover completely. Fill center with cheese, sauce and favorite toppings. Bake on lowest rack for 14 to 16 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing. Yields 2 pizzas, 6 slices per pizza.

Cheese Stuffed Crust, Whole Wheat Pizza
Cheese Stuffed Crust, Whole Wheat Pizza

Hawaiian Pizza Toppings included, 4 ounces sliced or shredded mozzarella, 4 ounces pizza sauce, 3/4 cup chopped (baked) ham, 3/4 cup fresh diced pineapple, 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion  and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.

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