So KFC got free-global advertising this week, with the apparently news-worthy revelation that the Colonels original hand written recipe for the secret pleasure of millions has been moved from its strong hold for the first time in decades during security upgrades at the multi-nats head office..
A lot nonsense rumour and myth is spread [mostly by KFC themselves] about the ‘11 secret herbs and spices’ recipes, supposedly ‘invented’ by Colonel Sanders, The self-styled southern dandy’ whose curiously God-like image adorns buckets of the diabetes and obesity-courting white-meat the world over.
Well if he invented KFC, I invented schnitzel. That original recipe is about as complicated and mysterious as Nicky Watson [a walking flotation device of a ‘woman' who married well, divorced even better and reportedly has the I.Q of a lemming. Made headline recently over the disappearance of her small dog. She posted ads across Auckland begging for the return of her ‘Chawaawaa'] and certainly existed before Sanders turned up on the scene. It’s a Southern standard in the States; in fact most things are popular deep-fried in those parts. Fried chicken has a long history in Jewish cooking too, where it’s often served very simply with pomegranate molasses as a dipping sauce. This is a truly sublime coupling. The sharpness of the molasses cuts across the fattiness of the chicken, cleaning your palate of all that sin and rounding out the flavours. Beautiful.
Now I’m not proud of this, but I must admit that I’ve eaten my fair share of genuine KFC, and I still go slightly weak at the knees when that unmistakable smell gets it tendrils into my brain. But however successfully it may posses me in the moment, I know that KFC use production line chickens who have lived brief, unhappy lives on a diet of god-knows what. Once dispatched and dismembered said chicken is coated in a number of things that aren’t so much secret as numerical and fried in ghastly KFC brand -super-fat.
However, with a few minor tweaks, it’s possible to produce an equivalent that outshines the so called Colonel’s bird on all levels. Yes. We have the technology. Well the common sence, good taste and respect for poultry anyway.
So now, at the risk of being picked off by a KFC hit-squad, I give you the ultimate culinary spoiler:
Fried Chicken: Colonel Virgil’s Unoriginal Recipe
1 cup flour
2 Tbs fine sea salt
1 Tbs finely ground black pepper
Free-range chicken pieces – skin-on and bone-in
Good quality, neutral tasting oil for deep frying- Canola, Sunflower or Grape-seed. NOT Olive
I know, fiendishly brilliant, but that’s really all there is to it. My guess is that the actual KFC recipe also includes a good measure of MSG. You could add that if you wanted, but it only serves to heighten existing flavours. I leave it out as MSG seems to do funny things to my stomach. According to all research on the matter this can only be psychological. Go figure.
Deep-frying is a scary business. I won’t go near it without an electric, thermostatically controlled deep-fryer, but I’m a wimp like that, it’s perfectly do-able on the stove top. You just need to be careful, ideally use a deep-frying thermometer and NEVER walk away from the pot. Whichever you have access to should be heated to about 180-190 Celsius. Any higher can be dangerous, but even on a stove top it’s easy to control the temperature, and once the chicken is added it won’t be a problem.
Mix together the dry ingredients in a plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces [fully-thawed] and shake vigorously.
Add chicken pieces to the oil in batches. Overloading will cause it to rapidly cool, resulting in oil-stewed rather than fried chicken. Cooking time is variable, but at least 5-10 minutes is likely in a home set up. They should end up nice golden brown colour and obviously the juices should run clear when poked with a knife. Shake off any excess oil and rest on kitchen paper [the chicken, not you].
Serve with lemon wedges and plenty of pomegranate molasses. The smell of this chicken is totally intoxicating [although it does tend to linger] and you will find yourselves fighting over the fattiest, crispiest pieces.
In my experience this stuff goes down a treat with people of all ages and persuasions [except for spoil-sport vegos]
Now here’s a funny thing. As mentioned above, this recipe and technique is quite possibly based on an old Jewish recipe.
Now if we attribute to its most famous rendition to Colonel Sanders, we are left with a question. Exactly what was a fine old southern gent, a veritable off-duty clansman doing with a Jewish chicken recipe? Come to think of it, he couldn’t have looked more Anglo-Saxon if he tried – white hair, white [and frankly ridiculous] beard and white suit. Isn’t that whole ‘look at me; I’m a good-old-boy’ act a bit OTT? So was Colonel Sanders really a self-loathing, heritage-denying southern Jew? Now there’s a low-rent History Channel doco just waiting to be made!
Enjoy and don’t walk away from the stove!
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