Friday, December 30, 2011

Annual Holiday Dinner - Main Entree #1

For the past 6 years, my husband and I have been holding an annual holiday dinner with our close and dear friends.  Wow, I didn't even realize how long it has been until I had to think about it!  I love hosting this dinner because we get to unite under one roof, especially with friends coming home from New York.  As we go through our daily grind of work and life during the year, the holiday season is a great excuse to spend a little more time together, and not to forget, to stuff our faces to the maximum!

In the past, I have tackled roasted chicken, beef roast, and different types of pasta.  This year, I got the crazy idea (I think it came to me in a dream) to be ambitious and cook something unfamiliar to me: frying.  I figured that if I was to go all out and serve a fried main entree, I might as well make something amazing.  I chose Thomas Keller's famous Buttermilk Friend Chicken from Ad Hoc.  The result?  Oh My Goodness.  I've never tasted the actual fried chicken from the restaurant, but if it's as good as the ones I made, Oh My Goodness!

Thomas Keller's Buttermilk Fried Chicken
from Ad Hoc at Home

I also found this recipe online, at this blog.

Because of my unfamiliarity with frying, I held a kitchen "test run" the weekend before the holiday dinner.  A few lessons learned:

  • I messed up on the salt measurement and the chicken turned out to be much saltier than I would have liked.  
  • I decided to fry outside (as to spare my house from being filled up in oil fumes), so I used our side burner on the BBQ grill.  Keeping the oil at a constant 320 degrees was challenging.  Although difficult, we watched it carefully and all of the chicken came out cooked and delicious.  
  • There are different cooking times for different parts of the chicken.  Drumsticks and thighs are about 12 minutes at 320 degrees, and breasts and wings are about 8 minutes at 340 degrees.  This was explained in the recipe book, but as it was near the end of the page, I stopped reading midway through (bad habit of mine).  I cooked the breasts and wings also at 12 minutes and although not overcooked, the outside was much crispier and darker than the rest.

Lots of chicken drums and thighs, laying out to dry after 12 hours of brining.  As Thomas Keller stated in the book, the chicken brine is KEY!  Chicken pieces dredged in the spiced flour mixture.

I used peanut oil to fry.  Look at it go!  And they all came out golden and crisp!  Another important tool to have is a deep fry thermometer.

Yum yum yum.

I have a vegetarian friend so I typically serve 2 main entrees at the holiday dinner. Main entree #2, a vegetarian item, will be featured in the next post!  Stay tuned!


  1. Ben and I are mad you have not scheduled a time for us to come over and eat this.. Also is that the pot you used that you gave me for frying?

  2. yup that's the all-clad pot. all purpose use!