Bourbon Brined Fried Chicken

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Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the Brine:
One 3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 cups steaming hot water
2 cups ice water
2/3 cup bourbon

For Frying:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoons cayenne, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
Dash of hot sauce
9 cups peanut oil, for frying

Special Equipment:

6 1/2- quart  Round Deep Dutch Oven

 

Directions:

Break chicken down into 10 pieces by removing thighs, drumsticks, whole wings, and bone-in breasts; cut each of the two breasts in half

To a large saucepan, add water, salt, honey, brown sugar ,cinnamon stick and bay leaves and stir until the salt dissolves. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ice water and bourbon and allow to cool completely. Put chicken pieces into a resealable  gallon freezer bag and pour the brine over the chicken. Seal the bag, set in a large bowl, and chill at least 4 hours, but preferably overnigh, for best results.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, cornstarch, salt and spices. Set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce, then set aside. Remove chicken pieces from the brine and pat dry. Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Dip in buttermilk mixture and allow excess to drip off. Finally, dredge completely in the flour again, and set on a rack over a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining pieces and let stand to allow a crust to form over the chicken while the oil heats.

Preheat oven to 250º F.

Add oil to a 6 1/2-quart deep Dutch oven and heat to a temperature of 350º F.

Carefully add 5 pieces of chicken to the oil and hold temperature around 320 ºF while frying, gently turning chicken once. Fry for 12 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165 º F in the thickest piece. Remove chicken to a rack set over a sheet tray, and hold in the oven while the next batch cooks. To prevent the chicken from buring on the outside  before it cooks through, remove it from the oil and place it  on a baking sheet and place it in the oven where it can finish cooking; check temperature before serving. Repeat frying process with remaining pieces, and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.

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Kentucky Burgoo

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Photo Credit: Elise Bauer

 

Burgoo,  is  Kentucky’s most famous stew and it usually made for big gatherings such as Derby Day, church socials, barbecues and  family picnics in huge kettles. A hearty meat stew, burgoo is most often made with chicken, beef, and lamb simmered with vegetables, beans, tomatoes, Worcestershire, sorghum or molasses, ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

Burgoo predates the Civil War and as legend has it, was invented by a French chef.And in taking it’s culinary origins in that fact, the word burgoo  may have derived from the French ragout (pronounced ra-goo), also a term describing a stew.

Nineteenth-century versions of burgoo served around the South frequently included squirrel, opossum, and rabbit, and was gently simmered and stirred for up to 24 hours. Like a mulligan stew, it’s sort of a empty-the-fridge recipe. Burgoos typically have at least three different meats, and plenty of vegetables such as corn, okra, and lima beans.

While modern day cooks applaud the stamina of those early chefs, these days a good burgoo can be made in four to six hours. That is still a commitment, to be sure, but the results—spicy, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food—are worth it. Like gumbo found in Gulf Coast, burgoo has many variations. In keeping with the food theme of using Kentucky bourbon,  this  version uses bourbon in the stock, which we are certainly partial to.

As with most stews, burgoo is even better the second day. It’s excellent as a Sunday dinner when you want lunches for the coming week.

Serves 12 to 14

Ingredients:

2 pounds pork shank
2 pounds veal shank
2 pounds beef shank
2 pounds breast of lamb
One 4-pound chicken, cut into eight pieces
7 quarts cold water
1 quart chicken stock
1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1 1/2 pounds onions, diced
1 bunch carrots, peeled and sliced thickly
2 green peppers, seeded and chopped
One 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
2  tablespoons  tomato paste
2  tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups whole corn, fresh or canned
2 pods red pepper
2 cups  okra, sliced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups dry lima beans
1 cup diced celery
3/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to tatste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste

Directions:
Put the pork, veal, beef, lamb, and chicken into a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the water and chicken stock and bring it to a boil slowly. Simmer until meat is tender enough to fall off the bones, about 4 to 6 hours.

Lift the meat out of the stock. Cool the meat, remove it from the bones, and chop it. Return the chopped meat to the stock.

Add the potatoes, onions, carrots, green peppers, tomato tomato paste brown sugar, corn, red pepper, okra, parsley, thyme, lima beans, celery, and bourbon, to the meat and stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow the stew to simmer over low heat until very thick about 6 hours.

Season to taste with the salt, pepper and serve with a good crusty bread.


Oysters Chesapeake

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Photo Credit: Randy Mayor, 2006.

Planning your Preakness party just got a lot easier!  The Preakness Stakes celebrates its 144th year, and each year the thoroughbred horse race is held at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Seafood is a Maryland staple and, of course, has an overwhelming presence in Preakness menus.  In addition to Maryland Lump Crab Cakes, there is also Oysters Chesapeake that should be on the menu as well. This dish combines two of the Chesapeake’s most beloved foods: oysters and crabs.With the classic  Black Eyed Susan cocktail, no Preakness party would be complete without this inviting finger food directly from the Bay.

Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon minced chives
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons  sour cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
One  6 1/2-ounce  container of  lump crabmeat, undrained
2 slices of  white bread
1 teaspoon butter, melted
12 shucked oysters
Fresh chives, mince, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:
Preheat the broiler.

In a large bowl, add the  chives, mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, black pepper, bacon
and crab meat. Stir gently to combine

Place the white bread in a food processor; process until coarse crumbs measure about 1 cup.  Combine breadcrumbs and butter in a small bowl.

Arrange oysters on a broiler pan. Spoon about 1 tablespoon crab mixture over each oyster; sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon breadcrumb mixture. Broil 7 minutes or until tops are golden browned and oysters are done.

Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with chives, if desired.

Cook’s Note:
Cook  the oysters on the bottom broiler rack of the oven to prevent the breadcrumbs from burning  before the oysters are cooked through.