Showing posts with label buttermilk fried chicken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label buttermilk fried chicken. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fall Comfort Food from Cleo Coyle: Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Apple Snack Cake

Fall means comfort foods! As my readers know, I enjoy making healthier dishes, but I also relish those foods that feed the souland so does my coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi. In Decaffeinated Corpse, Clare warms up a chilly October morning with a fresh batch of Cappuccino Muffins, decadent little sour cream cakes made with cocoa, chocolate chips, and crowned, like her Village Blend cappuccinos, with sweet, frothy tops. Before the mystery's climax at the famous Greenwich Village Halloween parade, Clare stirs up a recipe for Carne Con Café, a hearty beef stew based on a traditional Mayan dish and laced with the earthy flavor of coffee. (The credit for that one goes to Clare's business partner, the globe-trotting coffee buyer Matteo Allegro.) Because both of those recipes are available in the recipe section of Decaffeinated Corpse, I’m sharing one today that’s more economical but just as comforting. It's my version of the classic...

Cleo Coyle, who has no fear
of frying, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Fried Chicken

Tender and sweet from its buttermilk bath, crispy and crunchy from its dip in hot oil, it's the perfect fall comfort food...

Fried chicken seems a simple enough dish. What’s the big deal, right? You flour chicken pieces and fry them. But if you’ve ever tried to make it, then you know plenty can go wrong (at least it has for me).

This recipe never fails me. My first secret is using chicken wings exclusively. Cutting up the chicken wings and discarding the tips* will yield 24 pieces of fried chicken out of just 12 wings—an economical and tasty meat course for 4 people that’s filling and satisfying. Unlike bigger pieces of chicken—which often end up burning on the outside before cooking properly all the way through—chicken wings fry perfectly in about 8 to 10 minutes. These smaller pieces require less oil, too.

The buttermilk bath is the second key to a successful batch of fried chicken. The acid in the buttermilk is an excellent marinade for the meat, softening and sweetening the chicken before it even touches the oil.

*RECIPE NOTE: The chicken wing tips in this recipe don’t have to be discarded. I boil them in water with celery, carrots, onions and spices and make a delicious chicken stock. Waste not! 

My advice: Buy a quart of buttermilk, reserve 1/2 cup for my Buttermilk Apple Snack Cake recipe and use the rest to make my fried chicken...

 Download a PDF of my Buttermilk Apple Snack Cake recipe by clicking here.

Cleo Coyle’s 
Buttermilk Fried Chicken

To download an illustrated PDF of this recipe that you can print, save, or share, click here.

Serves: This recipe calls for 3 pounds of wings, which is about 12 wings or 24 pieces after wings are cut up.


3 pounds fresh chicken wings

1 quart regular or light buttermilk

      (Reserve 1/2 cup for my Buttermilk-Apple Snack Cake recipe!)

3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons McCormick “Original Chicken Seasoning” blend
(Or your favorite chicken spice blend)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper, ground very fine
2 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional)
Canola oil for frying

Step 1: Cut the wings into three pieces, discarding all wing tips (or you can boil the tips with carrots, celery, onion and spices to make chicken broth). Place cut up chicken in a plastic or glass container. Pour buttermilk over the chicken wing pieces and marinate in refrigerator for up to 3 hours (no more).

Step 2: Mix the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, chicken spice, and cayenne pepper thoroughly in a paper or plastic bag.

Step 3: Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk and discard excess liquid. Shake off loose buttermilk (do not rinse). Drop wing pieces into the bag 2 or 3 pieces at a time. Shake well until each piece is evenly coated.

Step 4: Heat canola oil in a pan or pot deep enough to allow wing pieces to be submerged in oil (at least 2 inches deep). Shake excess flour off your chicken wing pieces and slowly place, one piece at a time, into hot oil. (Note: You know the oil is hot enough for frying when a dough ball made from a bit of buttermilk and flour sizzles when dropped into the pot). Make sure your pan is not too crowded; otherwise, oil’s temperature will drop too fast, and you’ll end up with greasy chicken.

Step 5: Fry each batch for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until chicken is golden brown & cooked evenly. (Watch oil temperature: This takes patience and practice. Keeping the oil hot enough is the key to good frying. Adding wings will reduce the oil’s temp., but turning heat too high will burn them.) I place my finished fried chicken pieces on a metal rack over an old cookie sheet pan to catch excess grease. Put rack in a 220° F. oven to dry chicken out and keep warm until all pieces are fried, and. . . 

Eat with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle, author of 

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"A Favorite Book of the Year"
Reviewer's pick 2010 ~ 

For a peek at some of the firehouse-inspired recipes featured in Roast Mortem, click here.

Now a national bestseller
in paperback

To purchase the book, 
click here or here or here.


"...a tasty tale of crime and punishment,
lightened by the Blend's frothy cast of
lovable eccentrics." ~ Publishers Weekly

For a peek at some of the chocolate 
recipes featured in Murder by Mocha,
click here

Now a national bestseller
in hardcover 

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click here or here or here

Audiobook produced by AudioGo (BBC Audiobooks America) Available at iTunes and

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Prime Time - Dinner Time

Let’s welcome our Sunday guest!

Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is on the air at Boston's NBC affiliate. Her work has resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in restitution. Along with her 26 EMMYs, Hank’s won dozens of other journalism honors. She's been a radio reporter, a legislative aide in the United States Senate and an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine working with Hunter S. Thompson.Her first mystery, the best-selling PRIME TIME, won the Agatha for Best First Novel. It was also was a double RITA nominee for Best First Book and Best Romantic Suspense Novel, and a Reviewers' Choice Award Winner. FACE TIME and AIR TIME are IMBA bestsellers, and AIR TIME was just nominated for the AGATHA Award for Best Novel of 2009. (Of AIR TIME, Sue Grafton says: "This is first-class entertainment.") DRIVE TIME, February 2010 from MIRA Books, just earned a starred review from Library Journal.

Hank's short story "On The House" is now an AGATHA nominee for Best Short Story of 2009. Hank is on the national board of Mystery Writers of America. Her website is Hank Phillippi Ryan.

For fun, Hank would like to offer copies of her books to three commenters today! Wahoo!!!! [They’re great, by the way.] She said you get to pick the TIME book of your choice. So comment to your heart's content!

Take it away, Hank!


What did you have for dinner when you were a little girl? Did your mother cook? I have a vague memory of--pot roast? And little tiny peas from a can. Big standing rib roasts on holidays. Stringy turkey. (Sorry, Mom.)

And oh--yes, of course, fried chicken made in an incredibly heavy cast iron pan where the top was just like the bottom, and the kitchen smelled like chicken and oil (which is not that bad!) for days. Thinking back--we had a big greasy deep fryer thing, that you plugged in. My little sister and I had the idea to make batter dipped onion rings, which was truly the messiest thing ever. There were batter splatters in the kitchen for--months. And you can imagine how indelible the batter dots were, once they dried.

We used to make pizzas from a box, and we thought it was delicious. Put water in a bowl of floury mix, mix until it was sticky, and roll it out onto a pan. Dump on that canned tomato sauce and a packet of cheese. And sometimes fried hamburger. We thought it was a huge treat! It must have been before there was carry-out pizza. (Who else remembers that?)
I don’t think I’d cook any of that now. Too greasy, too fried, too pre-fab. Although I’ve been known to sneak an onion ring or two from my husband’s plate in restaurants. (Do you sneak bites of your companion’s food? We'll talk about that another day.)

Cooking now is so different from my mom’s day. It's all about doing it fast--in my world, at least. I have a full time job as a reporter, and ANOTHER full time job as a mystery author. And another full time job as a wife. So something’s gotta give.

I will confess, cooking was one of the first things I had to cut back. Used to be? I’d come home from working at Boston’s NBC affiliate, and unless there had been big breaking news or an especially tough story, cooking dinner was one of the few things that would really relax me. It’s fun, it’s rewarding—but you do have to concentrate, and the craziness of a day in disguise or going undercover with a hidden camera or scouring through court records would fade away as I calculated what to make for dinner. I came up with some fantastic sauces, great toppings for grilled fish, and exotic new pasta combinations.

And dinner parties? Back in the day I used to go all out. Elaborate, experimental, no holds barred.Soufflés, beef Wellington, pommes Anna, poached fresh pears with wine and cinnamon. No recipe was too complicated, no prep too difficult. I loved it.

Today? Forget about it.

Now, let’s just say it’s lucky that my dear husband is patient. There’s a lot of pizza. And brown-rice sushi. And carry-out grilled salmon.

But there’s got to be a way, I thought, to make it fast but still healthy and delicious.

One way--is to add fresh ingredients to prepared items. Does your grocery carry-out counter have orzo salad? It's orzo, and red onions, and black olives—you’ve seen it.
Perfectly good, but unquestionably pre-fab. But here's how to make it fresh and wonderful...just add fresh crumbled feta cheese and chopped up fresh basil. Suddenly, the flavors pop. It also looks beautiful.

If you want to get even fancier: pop two ears of corn, still in the husk! into the microwave.
Heat on high for about two minutes. The corn will steam itself! Carefully, carefully peel off the husks. (It’s okay to wait until it’s cool enough to do without harming yourself.) Then--brush a little oil on the corn on the cob, and put it under the broiler until about half the kernels get toasty. Cut the corn off the cob, and mix it into the orzo salad. Don’t worry if some of the kernels stick together, it’s prettier that way.
Suddenly, you have a fantastic fresh salad. And you boosted the delicious level in about 4 minutes. And it’s totally company-worthy.

Now, like my main character (and alter ego?) reporter Charlotte McNally, I’m figuring out ways to make food tasty and beautiful—but also, well, fast. And when friends stop by for drinks and chat—we sit out by the pool and watch the summer sunset and, as we say, “soak up the niceness.” And for that, you need appetizers. Here are three that are elegant, delicious, and of course, fast. And then, a never-fail dinner recipe that you can do with whatever you have in the fridge. Because—who has time to plan?

Charlotte NcNally’s Three Super-fast Appetizers—and one Dinner on a Deadline!

Built-in BLT’s

16 cherry tomatoes (sniff in the store to make sure they smell like tomato, not cardboard), halved
1-2 leaves romaine lettuce, torn into small pieces
2-3 slices bacon, crisply cooked and broken into small pieces
Fresh parsley or basil

Scoop out most of the inside of each tomato half. Place a dollop of mayonnaise in each half. Stick a torn piece of lettuce into each. Pop in a shard of bacon. (These will look beautiful.) Arrange on a serving tray and garnish with sprigs of fresh parsley or basil.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Quick Caprese

Note: This is easy finger food, but if you want to provide little forks, it’s delicious for guests to dip each tomato into a pool of extra high quality balsamic vinegar. Splurge on the vinegar!

Fresh mozzarella cheese, in cherry tomato-size balls
Fresh basil pesto (may be store-bought, who’ll know?)
16 cherry tomatoes (sniff in the store to make sure they smell like tomato, not cardboard), halved
Fresh parsley or tarragon
Fresh basil, finely chopped

Slice each mozzarella ball into three pieces. Put a dollop of pesto on each tomato. Top with a slice of mozzarella. Arrange on tray with parsley sprigs, or stalks of tarragon and tomato halves for garnish. Sprinkle basil on top of the cheese. Done!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Quicktime Taste of Tuscany

Note: Consumer reporter alert - be sure to wash the outsides of the melons before you cut them to prevent salmonella!

1 cup bite-size chunks of fresh cantaloupe
1 cup bite-size chunks of fresh honeydew melon
30 strips prosciutto
Fresh herbs
Fresh basil, finely chopped

Wrap each melon chunk with prosciutto, and secure with toothpick. Arrange on tray with herbs from your garden (or the grocery). Sprinkle basil across the top to garnish.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Here’s one more secret--and it’s such a fast delicious dinner that Charlie McNally makes it all the time. Or--she would, if I didn’t do it for her.

Fast Pasta Primavera for two

Pasta for two
Vegetables—see below
1/3 or more cup olive oil
Garlic-infused oil if you have it
Garlic (crushed from a jar or fresh)
Red pepper flakes
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh basil, chopped

Boil water for pasta
See what vegetables you have—maybe a lonely leftover zucchini or yellow squash? If so chop in chunks, add some olive oil and broil.
If you have spinach or broccoli, or broccoli rabe? Wash and chop.
Check the pasta water. Is it boiling yet?
In a cereal size type boil, dump in about 1/3 cup high quality olive oil, a dash of garlic-infused oil or basil-infused oil. Add a chopped up garlic clove. Or half a teaspoon of crushed garlic from a jar.
Shake in a couple of shakes of red pepper flakes. Put it in the microwave. But don’t turn it on!
Is the pasta water ready?
Dump in the pasta.
When the pasta is one minute from being done, dump the raw broccoli or broccoli rabe or spinach into the simmering pasta water.
Start the microwave! Heat the oil mixture on high for one minute.
Meanwhile, the pasta will cook for that final minute along with the vegetables.
When the pasta is done and the veggies are still bright green, drain in a colander.
Slide the pasta and vegetables back into the pasta pan.
(If you’ve broiled the zucchini, mix that into the pasta now.)
Pour in the hot oil, and stir.
Now you’ve got a delicious mix of pasta and vegetables.
Top with lots of Parmesan cheese and fresh pepper—add some fresh chopped basil if you have it.
Quick—and delicious!


Thanks, Hank! You've given us a feast. You're the best.


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