Food Review: KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken

 

 

 

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In January 2016, the tastemakers at Kentucky Fried Chicken put their spin on a Tennessee Classic and began selling it as “Nashville Hot Chicken” and another offering called “Nashville Hot Tenders” in its U.S. restaurants after a trial run in the Pittsburgh area. Press releases from the chain stated that it  was “the most successful product testing in the company’s recent history”. According to the advertising, KFC promises a a spicy bird with a savory burn.The company even espouses that the “Colonel’s” latest creation was inspired by one of Nashville’s most famous dishes. The ads also say that their version of Nashville Hot Chicken is spicy, smoky, crispy chicken that’s bold and full of flavor.

So with all the hype about KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, I was curious to give it a go.

Welp, having grown up down in the Deep South, I have had the opportunity to experience the REAL Hot Fried Chicken, from the original hole-in the wall-joint known as Prince’s Hot Chicken on the north side of Nashville, Tennessee. Hot Fried Chicken might have had a scandalous start some 70 odd years ago, but everyone in Nashville still seems to crave its fiery flavor.

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Legend has it that Thornton Prince, III was the inspiration for  hot fried chicken,which was by accident. Thornton was purportedly a womanizer, and after a particularly late night out, his girlfriend at the time cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with extra pepper as revenge. Instead seeking absolution from his irate girlfriend, Thornton decided he liked it so much that, by the mid-1930s, he and his brothers had created their own recipe and opened the BBQ Chicken Shack Café, serving up the specialty of hot fried chicken. Only one spice level was offered back then, but today, you can order Prince’s Hot Fried Chicken as plain, mild, medium, or extra hot.

 

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So it’s no surprise that Hattie B’s, a bold newcomer to Nashville’s growing hot chicken landscape, has been an enormous success since opening their first location in 2012. In just a few years, Hattie B’s has become every bit the go-to for a hot chicken christening as Prince’s or fellow old-school joint Bolton’s. True Heat fiends whisper among themselves and those foodies “in the know” that Hattie B’s’ hottest preparation, “Shut the Cluck Up,” is a more-than-worthy challenger to Prince’s extra-hot. With that said, Hattie B’s is aiming straight for the taste buds of the  masses.

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What ironically started out as breakfast revenge is now considered to be a staple food for late-night diners, especially in Nashville. On weekends, most restaurants dedicated to the fare of hot chicken are open very late, some past 4 am.

As of 2015, there are an estimated two dozen restaurants in the Nashville area that serve hot chicken, either as the focus or as part of a larger menu.

Reflecting the growing popularity of the dish, several cities in the United States host restaurants that serve hot chicken or a variation thereof, including Atlanta, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Birmingham, and Ann Arbor. Even a restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, serves Nashville-style hot chicken.

The original Prince’s Hot Chicken is so hot, you will not be able to finish it. It think it has a Scoville Scale Rating that goes beyond the Komodo Dragon Chili Pepper and the Carolina Reaper Pepper, both being Hotter Than Hades.

Welp, KFC’s version is adequate. I had the two piece thigh and drumstick meal that came with two pickles, a side of cole slaw and KFC’s signature biscuit. The meal does not include a beverage, but the total entree came to $5.49 plus tax, without a drink. To be perfectly honest, KFC’s version of Nashville Hot Chicken will not have you wiping you nose on a slice of white bread or reaching for something to cool your tongue.KFC’s blend of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika were just a little too bland and one note for me. There was a little heat, and the chicken is spicy, but I have had hotter spiced chicken, from my Grandmother’s Creole kitchen, for sure. The hot pepper sauce that coated the chicken was too salty followed by the taste of burnt sugar as an after taste, and there with an over abundance of grease.

As with any regional favorite that has become a trend, good food it is often duplicated, but never fully replicated. So for me, KFC’s version of Nashville Hot Chicken was “okay” with an average grade of C+.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Sunday Indian Omelette

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Because of the Blizzard of 2016, it was snow day and I was stuck in the house with limited options, given the local media stations  had been covering the snowstorm for a straight 48 hours. Well, I took advantage of the snow day by watching  a couple of movies and among the choice of selections was “The Hundred-Foot Journey”, a 2014  film adapted from Richard Morais’ 2010 novel of the same name, that  tells the story of a feud between two adjacent restaurants in a French town: one operated by a recently relocated Indian family and the other a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Despite the movie starring Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren, Om Puri and Manish Dayal, the  real stars of the movie were the 27 eye opening and mouth watering dishes, with so  many of them that were created by Chef Floyd Cartoz, who served as a consultant on the film.

CChef-Floyd-Cardoz-at-The-Bo.jpghef Cartoz, was the  2011 winner  of Top Chef Masters. His own life story is somewhat reminiscent of the film’s main character, Hassan Kadam.  Chef Cartoz was  born in India, migrated to the United States and had a hard time transitioning. He eventfully found work and he currently works as an executive chef  at White Street, located in Tribeca, New York. Drawing from his extensive culinary experience, Chef Cartoz was instrumental in bringing the foods in the novel alive on screen.

Omelette or Omelet, no matter how it is spelled or you call it, we can all agree that this French dish has an international appeal. If you’ve seen the movie,  then you may recall the scene  where Hassan made an Omelette aux Fines Herbes  with Indian spices, for Madam Mallory. It was divine.  And  at that moment, being a totally foodie, I fell in love with the cooking and presentation of my favorite dish from the film, the omelette.

It was the Sunday Indian Omelette, to be exact, which   is a  a part of a traditional Sunday morning breakfast in India.  This dish is extremely popular in The union territory of Puducherry, which was a  French colony for around 200 years, making French cuisine a strong influence in the area.  The sellers would walk around the neighborhood, calling out – “omelette, omelette”, a sign to let the community know they were open for business. It’s usually eaten alone or sometimes in between a piece of naan, making something akin to a breakfast sandwich. If you are passionate about cooking, like me and if you love eggs, may I  suggest that you try this omelette…… because I thoroughly enjoyed it, and the dish left me feeling happy with a full stomach on a snowy day.

Enjoy!

Adapted from Chef Floyd Cartoz, 2014

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:
2 cups onions, minced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1  small Serano chili, seeded and finely minced
2 cups fresh cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 bunch of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Tablespoon Vadouvan French Masala Curry
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
4 Tablespoons coconut or canola oil
12 eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
Clarified butter, for serving

 

Directions:
In a large bowl combine the onion, scallions,tomatoes, cilantro, salt and mix well. Split vegetable mixture into 6 equal parts.

In a another bowl, combine the turmeric, vadouvan, cayenne pepper and black pepper with the eggs.

For each omelette that will be made, take about 1/4  cup of the spiced eggs and add it to one part of the vegetables and mix well in a small bowl with a fork.

Heat a medium size non-stick pan over moderate heat and 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil and heat until shimmering. Pour the egg mixture into the pan  and gently swril the pan to spread the eggs evenly. Stir gently with a fork, lifting the bottom to allow the uncooked eggs to flow underneath. Cook for 2 to  3 minutes. Reduce heat and let eggs cool until it sets. The eggs should not set too quickly or take on too much color.

Once the eggs are almost completely set, that is, they can no longer be stirred, give the pan a good shake or tap. Lift the pan almost vertically. With the aid of a fork or spatula, fold the omelette in half and slip it onto a plate, folding it again onto itself. Brush the top of the omelette with clarified butter before serving.

Repeat with the rest of the egg mixture.

Serve immediately.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Grand’s Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

 

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Photo Credit: SouthernBite.com, 2014

 

White Barbecue Sauce is a regional favorite found in the foot hills of Appalachian Mountains of Northern Alabama. Pit master, Bob Gibson is credited with concocting white sauce back in 1925. This tangy, mayonnaise-based condiment was traditionally used to dress chicken. But today, just about every BBQ joint in the area has  a white barbecue sauce on their menus,  and they use it on their meats as a marinade, and place it on their tables for serving.

The sauce is so versatile, that you can eat it with everything, using it as a dipping sauce  french fries to chicken wings and ribs and even as  a dressing for pulled pork sandwiches. Seriously, this unique, tangy flavor is the perfect compliment to just about everything.

To make a White Barbecue Sauce you really only need  four ingredients: mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and coarsely ground black pepper. My Grand’s  original recipe called for a little buttermilk and just a touch of heavy cream, to give it a salad dressing- like consistency. But I tweaked it just a little  bit, by adding Creole Mustard and Horseradish to her recipe and it turned out just fine.


Makes About 2 Cups


Ingredients:

2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk (as needed for the desired consistency)
6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon Creole mustard
1/8 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2-3 teaspoons granulated white sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced

 

Directions:
Whisk together all ingredients until blended. Pour into a Mason Jar, cap tight with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor