Monday, February 20, 2012

Soul Food: Fried Chicken, Braised Collard Greens, Corn Bread & Mashed Potatoes

 Ok, so we went all the way on this one.  Twice fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread, and mashed potatoes.  That sauce you see in the photo is a sriracha honey that I nicked from Michael Symon. I recently saw him mix honey with a little sriracha hot sauce on his new show.  I just added a little rice vinegar for a little more tang and thinned it out with some water.  We also had a side of roasted brussel sprouts that didn't make it onto this plate.  Did I mention I fried the chicken in duck fat?  Oh, cause, I fried the chicken in duck fat.

For the chicken, I marinated a cut up chicken (breasts cut in half through the cartilage) in a can of coconut milk, splash or 2 of rice vinegar, 2 smashed garlic cloves, half of a red onion sliced, some cut up ginger pieces, a squirt or 2 of sriracha hot sauce, a squirt of honey, a few sprigs of thyme and seasoned well with salt & pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and stick in in the fridge for an hour or 2 or longer if you have the time.  The coconut milk and honey provide a nice underlying sweetness while the vinegar will give you the little tang that you would get from the traditional buttermilk.

Take the chicken out of the fridge and leave it on the counter to come to room temperature. Heat up a combination of duck fat and canola oil in a high sided saute pan to around 350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.  You can just use canola oil if you prefer to omit the duck fat, but it does add a richness to the chicken that you can't get with any other fat.  If you don't have canola, you can use any oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or grapeseed oil.  You could use olive oil, just watch your heat so you don't smoke out your kitchen.  If you are not using a thermometer, drop a pinch of flour into the oil to make sure it's hot enough.  If it sizzles, you're good to go.  Thats what I did.

Coat the chicken in seasoned flour (salt, pepper, paprika, and adobo- a combination of onion powder, garlic powder and turmeric - found in the mexican food aisle).

Drop the chicken into the hot fat/oil skin side first on medium heat.  Be sure to place it into the pan carefully and away from you so you don't splatter oil all over your self.  The oil should come about halfway up the chicken and don't crown the pan.  You don't want your heat too high at this stage because you want the chicken to cook through before getting too brown.

Once golden, remove the chicken from the pan and drain on paper towels.  When you are ready to serve, drop the chicken back into the hot oil for a second fry to give it a deeper brown color and a crunchier coating.  Thats gonna give you some bad ass fried chicken, my friends.

Collards: Start by seasoning a piece of bone-in flanken with salt and pepper and brown well in a dutch oven in canola oil.  Toss in a chopped onion and 3 cloves of sliced or chopped garlic.  Once the onion is transulscent, cover with water, cover the pot and braise for about an hour or until the meat is falling apart tender.  Add a splash or 2 of rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar), add some more water, season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and add 2 bunches of collard leaves (removed from the stalks).  I like to keep the leaves in relatively big pieces because they're going to wilt down quite a bit.  Braise the greens, allowing the liquid to evaporate.  Add more water if the liquid gets low and the greens are not tender yet.  It's ready when the greens are tender and there is only a little liquid left in the pot.

Corn Bread: My wife Yael made the corn bread.  She used this recipe: Easy Corn Bread from Epicurious, and she did a great job.  I should also mention the incredible Challah that she made on Friday night.  I'll try to get her to post some info about it.

Mashed potatoes:  Yael made the potatoes too.  Just boil some thin skin potatoes till tender, drain and mash with some margarine, olive oil, salt and pepper.  She left the skins on which adds some nice texture, flavor and some extra nutritional value to this already incredibly healthy meal!

Drizzle the whole plate with the sriracha honey, thinned out with a little rice vinegar and water and seasoned with salt & pepper.  Use as much or as little sriracha as you want, depending on how spicy you want it.  feel free to substiture the sriracha with your favorite hot sauce.  The main thing here is the spicy/sweet combo mixed with the salty and savory chicken.


  1. I've always wanted to try making this. But the buttermilk was always in the way, that whole don't mix meat and milk thing... Great alternative with coconut milk! But did you taste the coconut?

  2. wow, i got a comment from susan!
    you won't really taste the coconut necessarily. just gives you a subtle underlying sweetness.