Friday, September 24, 2010

Country Fried Chicken with Rick's Famous Mash Potatoes and Green Beans

This dish has classic simplicity but I added some important techniques that make it taste extraordinary. These techniques are more important then the recipe itself. Once you learn the various cooking techniques you can apply them to any protein, vegetable, starch or sauce making new and unique dishes everyday. You start by using a base technique to create a familiar item and then set the stage by surrounding that item with the components that you enjoy. Edible art. Sometimes you make an great dish, other times you make a horrible dish, but you always keep refining your technique and changing the outcome. Anyway, enough of my cooking philosophy and on to the food...

This serves recipe 4 people

Country Fried Chicken Breast

4 free range chicken breasts, trimmed of the fat
2 cups buttermilk (or heavy cream)
2 cups of AP flour
2 eggs, scrambled and heavily seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups of whole wheat bread crumbs
1 cups Panko bread crumbs (sub white or Italian)
3 oz of vegetable oil

Soak chicken breasts in buttermilk (or cream) for at least 10 minutes up to 1 day.

Then get set up for the breading process by laying out three large baking dishes, i like to use 9" round or square baking pans. Put them next to each other and fill the 1st pan with the flour, the 2nd pan with the eggs and the 3rd pan with the breadcrumb mixture. Put a baking sheet at the end, covered with wax paper for your completed chicken breasts.

Take the chicken breast from the buttermilk and let it drain off the excess liquid. Dredge the chicken breast in the flour and shake off the excess, dip it in the egg mixture and let, then place it into the bread crumb mixture making sure to press the breadcrumbs firmly into the chicken breast. Set aside on the baking sheet and finish the remaining breasts. Start a large frying pan on medium high heat (6 of 10) and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add the chicken breasts one or two at a time so you do not over crowd the pan. They are ready quickly, about 5 minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Place on a paper towel on the baking sheet.

Rick's Famous Mashed Potatoes

3 large baking potatoes, peeled and large diced
1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and diced (1 jarred roasted red pepper, diced)
1/2 vidallia onion, sliced
8 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
3 oz olive oil
1 stick of butter
1/8 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons of salt
1 tablespoon fresh black pepper

It works best if you do all the chopping first and then start all of the three steps in order because they all take about 30 minutes each to complete.

STEP 1 - Add the olive oil, 1/2 of the butter, the onions and smashed garlic to a small sauté pan and turn to low(1 of 10). Let that cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the onion and garlic start caramelizing. Add the heavy cream and some salt & pepper and let cook 5 minutes.

STEP 2 - Fresh Roasted Red Pepper - Turn your oven on broil with the rack at the top. Slice the red bell pepper in half and remove the seeds and white core. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and place the pepper under the broiler. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the pepper skin has blackened. Put the two halves into a medium mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 15 minutes then open and peel the skin off of the pepper, it should be easy. It is worth the time and effort to do these fresh.

STEP 3 - Place the peeled and chopped potatoes in a large pot with cold water and 2 tablespoons of salt. If you put them in warm or boiling water you will ruin the texture. Turn the potatoes on high and bring them to a boil. Turn to medium and let boil for another 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain them and add to a large mixing bowl with the cream-onion-garlic mixture and the chopped roasted red pepper. Add the 2 tablespoons of salt, 1 tablespoon of black pepper and them remaining 1/2 stick of butter. Mash together thoroughly or mix with a hand blender for an even smoother texture. YUM!

Green Beans

1 lb of green beans, trimmed or the ends and washed
1/4 vidallia onion, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 oz olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
salt & pepper to taste

Blanching Green Beans (or any vegetable)- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Once the water is boiling add the green beans. Make an ice bath - get a large mixing bowl and fill it 1/4 with water then another 1/4 with ice so the bowl is now half full. After the green beans have cooked for five minutes, drain them and place them in the ice bath. Mix with your hands until the green beans are cooled. This sets the color and makes any vegetable crisp and colorful. AT HOME TIP: I add the green beans to the boiling water from the potatoes so I don't have to do another pot of boiling water, I just pick them out with tongs because they float to the top.

Start and sauté pan on low and add the butter, olive oil, onions and garlic. Let that cook for 20 minutes or until the onion start to get color. Turn up the heat to medium and add the green beans, mix well. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until the green beans get heated through, add salt and pepper to taste.

It sounds like a lot to do for one meal but if you do all the cutting prep work first, then go in this order it all happens very fast; Start the 3 step potato process, blanch the green beans, bread the chicken, mash the potatoes, fry the chicken and then sauté the green beans everything will be done at around the same time. Practice makes perfect. The three techniques to take from this recipe are blanching vegetables, making homemade roasted red peppers and frying up breaded chicken. Three basic but very important techniques. Good luck.

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