1 whole chicken, 3 to 4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put a cast-iron skillet on a low rack in the oven and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Rub the chicken all over with the oil and sprinkle it generously with salt and pepper.
When the oven and skillet are hot, carefully put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up. Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. Continue to roast until the bird is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh reads 155 to 165 degrees.
Tip the pan to let the juices flow from the chicken’s cavity into the pan. Transfer the chicken to a platter and let it rest for at least 5 minutes. Carve and serve.
Cheesy Chicken Fritters
Ingredients for Chicken Fritters:
3 large (or 1½ lbs) chicken breasts
2 large eggs
⅓ cup mayonnaise
⅓ cup all-purpose flour (or cornstarch or potato starch for gluten free)
4 oz (or 1⅓ cups shredded) mozzarella cheese
1½ Tbsp chopped fresh dill
½ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper, or to taste
Extra light olive oil, or any high heat cooking oil
Ingredients for Garlic Aioli Dip (Optional)
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
½ Tbsp lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
⅛ tsp black pepper
Using a sharp knife, dice chicken into ⅓" thick pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl. Tip: If chicken breast is partially frozen, it will be a little bit easier to slice.
Into the mixing bowl, add remaining batter ingredients: 2 eggs, ⅓ cup mayonnaise, ⅓ cup flour, 1⅓ cups shredded mozzarella, 1½ Tbsp dill, ½ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper, or season to taste. Stir the mixture until well combined, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp oil. When oil is hot, add the chicken mixture a heaping Tablespoon at a time. I used a trigger release ice cream scoop for even portioning). Slightly flatten out the tops with the back of your spoon and sauté uncovered 3-4 minutes on the first side, then flip and saute 3 minutes on the second side or until outsides are golden brown and chicken is fully cooked through*
To make the aioli (if using), combine all ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and stir together until smooth.
*To test for doneness, cut a fritter in half and the chicken should be completely white inside. If your chicken is browning too fast, adjust your heat down.
This is where the Colonel's Secret Recipe comes into play. The seasoning is as follows:
2/3 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 tablespoon basil
1/3 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried mustard
4 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons white pepper
I mixed the above seasoning with two cups of flour. While I am a large fan of the paper bag method for fried chicken, I don't see every KFC on the planet shaking chicken in a bag before frying, I skipped it this round and went with the more traditional flour-egg-flour dredge in shallow pans.
I, like most people I imagine, don't own a pressure fryer. These things are a few hundred dollars and aren't exactly a go-to small appliance for most homes. I do own a pressure cooker, but adding hot oil to a pressure cooker can create all sorts of havoc. So I fried the chicken in my tabletop fryer (360°F until internal chicken temperature reaches 165°F — roughly eight minutes), as I am a fan of the lid which regulates temperature and lack of splatters.
You know how you try "the ultimate" whatever recipe that surfaces online and, although it tastes good, it never really lives up to the brand name of the real thing? This recipe ... this isn't that. You guys. Seriously. I can't. The taste of its crispy skin is a dead ringer for its commercial counterpart. KFC might deny that the spice mixture given to the Chicago Tribune is incorrect, but it sure tastes like the real thing.
The taste of its crispy skin is a dead ringer for its commercial counterpart.
The texture, on the other hand, was not an identical match to KFC. Although I greatly enjoyed the extra-crunchy, thick skin of the chicken, it didn't foster the same memories of the soft yet textured skin that come spilling out of the traditional red-and-white bucket. If I wanted to make this recipe as KFC as possible, I think my beloved paper bag method for flouring would have been more thin and even.