Sunday, February 5, 2012

Batter Fried Chicken

In a winter that has been so warm that the children at school play without their coats and come in sweating, we finally had a day cold enough for a fire. On Saturday, I went riding with our daughter, and my husband and my brother went to the Auto Show. When we came back from riding and visiting various branches of the DC Public Library to find Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup with rice, I went out to the woodpile and brought in a load of wood.

Bob and George eventually made it back from the Auto Show with tales of negotiating Metro, DC's subway system, which has been tied up with maintenance closings since it was discovered that in the first 25 years the system was open, it had done no maintenance. Bob dragged out an enormous box of file folders and began going through them. George read the paper, and I read a profile of Newt and Calista Gingritch in The New Yorker while the fire crackled and snapped.

George decided to stay for dinner, and I made batter-fried chicken.

This is a weird recipe. The chicken is parboiled and made flavorful through being steeped in broth to which vegetables and herbs are added. It appeared that the batter had no seasoning at all, and it tasted like a load of nothing. Add salt to the batter, folks, I thought. However, when I typed the recipe, it does call for salt. It just doesn't include salt in the list of ingredients. It says to add half a teaspoon later. I included the salt in the list of ingredients.

The recipe says, use a fry basket. If you don't have a large enough kettle to use a fry basket, just use a large frying pan, and turn the chicken. You don't have to run out and buy a fry basket to make this chicken. Also, keep the already fried chicken in the oven while you are frying the rest of it. That way, it won't get cold, the way mine did.

This is good chicken. The only drawback is, your house will smell like a Chinese restaurant and you have the problem of getting rid of the oil.

Batter-Fried Chicken

1 two-and-one-half pound to three-pound frying chicken, cut into serving pieces

1 rib celery

1 carrot

1 bay leaf

1 small onion

salt and freshly ground black pepper

chicken broth (depending on the size of your frying pan, you will need a quart or more)

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

2 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

fat or oil for deep-frying

1. Place the chicken pieces in a skillet. Add the celery, bay leaf, onion, slat and pepper to taste and enough broth to cover barely.

2. . Bring to a boil and simmer gently fifteen minutes. Drain and dry pieces of chicken and let cool.

3. Combine the flour, baking powder and one-half teaspoon of salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs with the milk and stir into dry ingredients along with the butter.

4. Dip the chicken pieces in the batter using a fry basket, drop into the fat or oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry until golden and drain on paper towels. Serves four.


  1. Did it taste any better/different than plain old ordinary fried chicken?

    1. Ordinary fried chicken,in my experience, is crisp and crunchy. This covering was soft. The chicken was very good, since it had been parboiled with herbs and veg. I didn't put salt in the batter until I was done with the chicken and we were frying the rest of the batter. So that's the difference.