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Sunday, April 9

Picnic Chicken

Lovers Kitchen Picnic Chicken

Much as I love a good sandwich and can’t imagine a better portable meal, fried chicken comes a very close second. It is the picnic food I most remember from my childhood. My parents, now in their 80’s, continue to fry chicken for impromptu seaside picnics. 

It took me decades to come up with this recipe for making the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. The thick yogurt with the spicy seasoning tenderises and flavours the chicken like nothing else. It’s equally good hot or cold.

What You Need

Full Fat Natural or Greek Yoghurt - 750g/26oz
Coarse Sea Salt and Pepper - 2 heaping tbs of each
Chili Flakes - 1 tbs
Garlic Powder - 1 tbs
Hot Sauce - 1 tbs (more if you want it hot)
Malted Grain Bread Flour - 1kg/2.2lbs
*Chicken - About 2kg/4lbs
*I usually use chicken wing drumettes. This recipe makes about 36 wing drumettes. Use whatever chicken pieces you like best. Breast fillets, legs, wings - it’s all good. 
Coconut Oil - 250ml

What You Do

In very large bowl, combine yoghurt, salt, pepper, chili flakes, garlic power and hot sauce. Mix well. Add chicken and marinate for an hour, up to 24 hours. I usually marinate an hour before cooking, outside of the fridge, so the chicken cooks at room temperature. 

Pour the malt flour into a large bowl and set aside.

Heat a couple heaping tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. I usually have to pans on the go when making a lot of chicken like this.

While the oil is warming up, dredge the yoghurt chicken into the flour, coating it throughly. Set aside on a plate until you have a half dozen pieces ready to go. Place chicken in hot oil and fry about six minutes on each side until dark golden brown. Be sure to get the tops and bottoms too. You want to make sure every part of the chicken is as crispy as possible. If it’s cooking too fast, turn it down to medium/low. The whole cooking process takes about 20 minutes per batch, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, your heat source, etc . . . 

Remove chicken from pan with tongs or fork, placing on a large tray or platter, lined with paper towels, or a clean dry towel. Test a piece or two to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

Continue with this process until all the chicken is fried. Replenish the oil as you go along.

If you’re serving hot, keep warm in a low oven. If you’re making this for a picnic or cold buffet, allow the chicken to cool completely, then store in fridge until ready to enjoy. Can be made a day in advance, as I often do.

Ideas and Suggestions

I’m enjoying a lot of fried chicken salads lately too. Just strip the chicken off the bone and add whatever crispy greens and dressing you fancy. Lovely spring meal. 

This same recipe works equally well with cod or haddock, though fried fish is of course best eaten hot from the pan and requires considerably less cooking time. See my recipe for Cod and Chips for details. 

You can also make this chicken in the oven, if you prefer not to fry it. See Lovers Kitchen Oven Fried Chicken for details. 

I love this chicken with devilled eggs and a handful of fresh baby salad greens. That’s it. Nothing else required. It’s also superb with a Caesar or potato salad. If you’re making this as part of buffet, make everything in advance, freeing yourself to be a guest at your own soirée. 

The idea beverages are beer, ale, white wine, sparkling wines, lavender or rose scented lemonade and sparkling water. 

A plate of homemade cookies (lavender shortbread is always gorgeous) or even Tunnock's tasty chocolate mallow tea cakes is the perfect finish with a spot of tea.