Friday, April 1, 2011

Pollo Frito (Fried Chicken)

When you think about friend chicken, it comes to mind the South of the U.S but this delicious dish has its origins in Europe back to the medieval times. In Italy it was called "pollo fritto". When it was introduced to the United States by Scottish immigrants it became a staple which was perfectioned by the African slaves in the southern plantations by adding different spices. In Colombia we have 2 national chains of fried chicken restaurants which have a distinctive flavor: Kokoriko and Frisby: They serve the chicken with small fried arepas and honey and give you disposable plastic gloves, so you can eat it with your hands without getting your hands all messy.

Recipe 8- 10  pieces

1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 or 4 pounds. Cut into 8-10 pieces
2 cups of buttermilk (suero)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon annatto (achiote)
1/2 teaspoon spicy sauce (sriracha)
2 teaspoons sea salt (plus more for tasting)
1 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper

3 cups solid shortening or lard (you can replace for a healthier option like canola oil)

Wash and dry the chicken pieces over paper towel, season lightly with salt and pepper rubbing the skin. In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, mustard, annato, spicy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mix making sure all the pieces are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight ( 3 hours before frying will do).

In a paper or plastic bag, mix all the breading ingredients. put the chicken pieces one by one and shake until they are coated wit the breading mixture. Place the coated pieces on a rack and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime in a large cast iron pot or fryer, heat the shortening or oil to 350F. Place the pieces of chicken one by one into the hot oil skin side down. Adjust the burner or fryer to maintain a temperature of 300-325F and fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. It will take approximately 12-15 minutes. If your pot or fryer is not big enough, fry in batches, repeating the process for the remaining pieces, bringing the temperature to 350F at first and then reducing to 300-325F.

Drain the chicken over towel paper and season with a pinch of salt. Serve hot with honey on the side.