Battered Chicken and Fresh Cut Fries

I like batter dipped food verses breaded. I use chicken thighs since dark meat stays moist versus white meat. I soaked the chicken in buttermilk. It gives the chicken some moisture and flavor. Soak the chicken for a least 30 minutes, if you choose to do this step. You can, if you choose to, soak the chicken overnight.

After you remove the chicken from the buttermilk, let the milk drain off the chicken and season the chicken with whatever seasoning you choose to use.

You can use your own tempura recipe or this one. There are many different ways to make it, but I like this one. This recipe is from Thomas Keller, chef of The French Laundry restaurant in California.

Tempura Batter
3/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

If you cannot get cake flour, regular all purpose flour will work fine. After you mix the dry ingredients, you can store them in a plastic container or zip lock bag. When you want to use the batter mix, put some into a bowl and add water or beer or liquid of choice to make the batter as thin or thick as you like. I like the batter on the thick side.

Even though your chicken has seasoning on it, season the tempura batter with the same seasoning as on the chicken, otherwise, it will be a bit bland. Most people do not own a little deep fat fryer. If you do not own one, you can use a pot filled with oil and a thermometer.

Use a really big pot and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil, and if you have a wire rack that you can put on the sheet pan, add that also.

Heat your oil to 350 degrees, then dip and add 2-3 pieces of chicken at a time. Cook till golden brown or even slightly dark.

The chicken will not be fully cooked in the oil. The thighs have bones, and tempura batter will burn before it is cooked. Remove the chicken after it is golden to dark, whatever you prefer. Put on the wire rack on the sheet pan and finish in the oven. You can temp the chicken to 165 degrees or simply cut into a piece and check to see if the juices run clear.

Any batter that is left over you must throw away, you do not want to re-use it or save it.

Now for the fries- you can either buy them or make them yourself. I made beer battered fries. What you need to do is cut the fries by hand. I used russet potatoes. Then, after you cut them, run them under cold water or soak them in cold water for 5-10 minutes to remove excess starch.

Make sure they are very dry. After they are dry, heat the oil to 325 degrees. After it gets up to temp, fry them in small batches and par-cook them. Cook the fries for about 7-8 minutes. A low temp will help cook the inside with out burning the outside. Use a low temp and double cook time for thick fries, but if your doing shoestring fries simply cook the fries once at 375 degrees. After you cook the fries once, drain them on a wire rack and let them dry off and cool. Then, if you choose to batter dip them, use the same dry mix, season it and make it a little thin.

Heat the oil to 375 to brown the fries, and put the par-cooked potatoes into the batter. Slowly add the fries in small batches; cook till golden brown. Put them in a bowl and season with salt. You can then put them on a paper bag to drain excess grease.

If you're not sure if your food will come out seasoned the way you like it or if the batter is too think or thin, you can take a piece of chicken like a chicken tender or cut off a small piece, season and batter it, then cook it and taste it. Adjust it as desired.
Enjoy! Rick b

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