Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pickle Brined Fried Chicken

So somehow, I went to bed and dreamed I was making fried chicken.  Seriously?!  Yes.  Then as I sat there one morning this past week trying to plan the menu for the evening, I wondered what angle I wanted to take.  Then there was Mr Picky Palate (who shall remain nameless), who came down for breakfast.  We apparently purchased the "wrong" kosher pickles.. and yes, he noticed that the ones in his lunch weren't the same as usual.  Sigh.... So it hit me.  I have chicken in the freezer.  I am going to marinate these in a pickle juice brine.  (Thank you, Mr Picky Palate!) Think about it, it has all those flavors in it - the salt, the acid, the slight sweetness.  Yes!  Oh - and didn't I once hear a rumor that our favorite chicken restaurant used to brine their amazing chicken in pickle juice?  I am almost certain that I didn't make that up!

Okay, I'll admit that you have every right to be a bit circumspect, but this was definitely going to happen.  Every other time I've brined my poultry, I've been very pleased with the results.  Why should this be different, right?   OH MY WORD!!!!  Can I just tell you that the kids went nuts over this chicken!  It was so tender and juicy... and that very faint pickle flavor in the background was very similar to the chicken that we get from that Chick-fil-a!  SCORE!!  I actually did a little happy dance in the kitchen.  Yes, really.  Scout's honor.  :)

You MUST try it!  My two teens even took the leftovers for their lunch the next day.  And the best part, for all you busy people out there, is that the technique I used actually cut OUT a few steps!
 
Print this recipe!

Ingredients: (I cooked 2 pounds of chicken)
  • Boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • Pickle juice from 1 jar of kosher pickles
  • 16 oz container of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 box Kentucky Kernel seasoned flour
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
    • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Canola oil for frying


Step-by-Step:
I threw my chicken into a gallon sized ziptop bag, and poured a whole jar of pickle juice over them .  (Yep, the kind he likes.)  I allowed them to brine in the pickle juice for 2 1/2 hours in the fridge.  I took them out to take some of the chill off while I got the rest of the stuff ready.
chicken brined in pickle juice
I wanted moist, tender chicken with a slight tangy flavor.  Rather than do a typical egg wash, I decided to go with a plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.  It's thick and creamy, has no fat but lots of protein, and it has a great tangy flavor.  I had never tried this method before, but I think it came to me in my sleep, so I went with it!
16 oz container of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
Then I wanted a very flavorful coating.  What is fried chicken without a great flavorful coating, right?  Just combine all the stuff....

Kentucky Kernel's seasoned flour, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper.
 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp baking powder
And this is what it looks like.  Now just stir that around to combine.
batter mixture
Ready?  Here we go!
Remove the chicken from the brine -
*Just be aware, the longer you leave the chicken in, the saltier the brine will make the chicken.
Coat the chicken first in the Greek yogurt, then in the seasoned flour.  Make sure you get lots of that great flour coating on it!
Fry at about 350-360 degrees F until golden brown and crispy... and of course cooked inside!  I found out that when I fried about 3 strips at a time, it took about 6 minutes.  When I fried only 2 at a time, a couple of minutes less.  You may have to figure out what works best for your fryer or pot. 

Don't you just love the way you can see all the herbs in the batter when they are done?  YUM!  The batter was the perfect balance of fluffy and crispy.
They were SO juicy and tender and wonderful!  And lets see - what did we cut out?  I did NOT season the chicken before battering, because the brine had lots of flavor including salt already.  I did not have to make up and egg wash.  And I did not have to salt the chicken when they came out of the fryer.  These were a home run with my kids!


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Written Method:



I threw my chicken into a gallon sized ziptop bag, and poured a whole jar of pickle juice over them.  I allowed them to brine in the pickle juice for 2 1/2 hours in the fridge.  I took them out to take some of the chill off while I got the rest of the stuff ready.

I wanted moist, tender chicken with a slight tangy flavor.  Rather than do a typical egg wash, I decided to go with a plain, nonfat Greek yogurt.  It's thick and creamy, has no fat but lots of protein, and it has a great tangy flavor.  

I wanted a very flavorful coating.  What is fried chicken without a great flavorful coating, right?  Just combine all the stuff....

Remove the chicken from the brine.  Coat the chicken first in the Greek yogurt, then in the seasoned flour.  Make sure you get lots of that great flour coating on it!  Fry at about 350-360 degrees F until golden brown and crispy... and of course cooked inside!

I found out that when I fried about 3 strips at a time, it took about 6 minutes.  When I fried only 2 at a time, a couple of minutes less.  You may have to figure out what works best for your fryer or pot.

They were SO juicy and tender and wonderful!  And lets see - what did we cut out?  I did NOT season the chicken before battering, because the brine had lots of flavor including salt already.  I did not have to make up and egg wash.  And I did not have to salt the chicken when they came out of the fryer.  These were a home run with my kids!

3 comments:

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