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My de-constructed and free-range KFC

March 4, 2012

I’d be lying if I said it didn’t irritate me that big fast-food outlets that specialise in chicken do not offer a free-range option.  So I do the only thing I can do; I avoid eating there, much to the annoyance of the Man About the House, who would eat in Nandos and KFC everyday if our budget would stretch to it.

He’s right to challenge me when I’m tucking into a Chicken Passanda at our local curry house, because they don’t offer free-range either, but my response is that an international chain has far more influence and opportunity than a single-family run business to make a positive impact on the state of chicken farming in this country.

But as a compromise for what the Man loves and the cooking skills I know I can muster, I suggested I produce him a free-range ‘de-constructed’ KFC for one course of his birthday dinner.  So, I asked him to tell me about the food he eats there on a regular basis, and as I listened to the sounds of tormented chickens ringing in my ears, I began to plan the dish.

Obviously, it had to feature some kind of breaded chicken. So goujons were an easy choice. Especially as they meant I could use my still-new and much-loved Magimix deep-fat fryer.

Then came the sweetcorn.  He has it on the cob, but it’s not in season so I thought about what I could do with a small tin.  Creamed corned seemed like a nice texture to complement the crispy chicken.

Fresh tomato can often be found in a KFC, so I needed to emulate that freshness, along with the crunch you might get from the lettuce. I decided on a mild tomato salsa.  For another hit of tomato, I thought I’d also make up a fresh tomato mayonnaise…after all, what burger doesn’t have a dash of ketchup and a blob of mayo?

I was still lacking the cheese and the hash browns.  I thought I’d combine the two and make gooey cheese-filled potato bon bons, which I could crumb and deep-fry.  In my mind this look like ‘popcorn chicken’, but in reality they were more golf-ball sized.

Lastly I needed a touch of green and some pepperiness, so I added some rocket and watercress.  It made it look pretty.

So there you have it – my deconstructed KFC.

Here roughly how I made it.  I’m sorry that I haven’t got all the exact measures – it was the first time I’d tried it and I was making some of it up as I went along…Oh, and it served four.  With lots of tomato mayonnaise and salsa left over (great for fajitas or wraps!)

For the Chicken Goujons:

2 free-range Chicken Breasts
Plain Flour
One or two free-range Eggs, beaten
Panko Breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons of Jerk Seasoning
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil
, for deep-frying

1. Slice the chicken into strips diagonally, so the pieces are about 8cm in length and 2-3cm in width.

2. Sprinkle some flour onto a plate, pop the egg(s) into a wide shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs into a third plate or bowl.  Mix the jerk seasoning and some salt and pepper with the breadcrumbs.

3. First coat a chicken strip in the flour, shaking off any excess.  Then dip it in the egg, again letting any excess slide off.  Finally, coat it in the breadcrumbs.  Then dip it back into the egg and back into the breadcrumbs, so it has a nice thick breadcrumb coat.  Set aside and continue until you have coated all of the chicken.  When you are ready to fry (about 10 minutes before you are due to serve), heat your oil up until a cube of bread dropped in it sizzles and browns quickly.  Then fry the goujons until the coating is a golden brown.  Cut a goujon to check they are cooked through.  That’s the chef’s perks; you get to eat that extra one.

For the Creamed Corn:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Shallot, finely chopped
110g tinned Sweetcorn, drained
50ml White Wine
50ml Double Cream
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the shallots and sweat for one minute until they are soft but not coloured.

2. Add the sweetcorn and white wine and cook until the wine is reduced by half.

3. Add the double cream and again, reduce by half.  Season to taste and remove from the heat.  You can reheat it again later, when you are ready to serve.

For the Mild Tomato Salsa:

4 ripe Tomatoes, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
Small bunch of Coriander Leaves, roughly chopped
Pinch of Sugar
2 fresh Green Chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of Ground Cumin
2 Spring Onions, finely chopped

1. Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl and then add salt to suit your own tastes.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  That was challenging, wasn’t it?!

For the Tomato Mayonnaise:

Before you can make the mayonnaise, you first need to make a Tomato Coulis.  This is delicious with fish or added to other sauces or pastas, if you have leftovers (which you will do)

375g large ripe Tomatoes
75ml Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove, crushed
30g Shallots, finely chopped
Bouquet Garni
Pinch of Sugar
3 Peppercorns, crushed

1. Peel the tomatoes.  I find the easiest way to do this is the Simon Hopkinson way.  Pop the tomatoes in a bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Wait until you see the first skins splitting and then remove them from the water.  Use a little knife to peel the skin away.

2. In a saucepan, warm the olive oil with the garlic, shallots and bouquet garni.  After two minutes, add the tomatoes, sugar and crushed pepper.

3. Cook it on a very low heat for about an hour, until all the moisture has evaporated.  Stir occasionally.

4. Remove the bouquet garni and tip the rest of the ingredients into a blender.  Blend to a smooth purée and then season with the salt to taste.  This will keep in the fridge for a week or two.

1 Egg Yolk, at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
125ml Groundnut Oil
1 tablespoon White Wine Vinegar

1. Put the egg yolk, mustard and a little salt and pepper into a bowl and mix with a balloon whisk.

2. Slowly add the groundnut oil, in a thin trickle to begin with, whisking continuously.  As it begins to thicken, pour the oil in a steady stream, still whisking all the time.

3. When the oil is completely incorporated, whilst more rapidly for 30 seconds until the mayonnaise is thick and glossy.  Add the vinegar, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

4. Then add two tablespoons of the Tomato Coulis and mix to combine.  Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

For the Potato and Cheese Bon Bons:

Four heaped tablespoons of Cold Mashed Potato; leftovers is just fine
Gouda Cheese, cut into small 1/2cm cubes
Plain Flour
1 or 2 free-range Eggs, beaten
Seasoned Breadcrumbs 
Vegetable Oil, for deep-frying

1. As with the goujons, sprinkle some flour onto a plate, pop the egg(s) into a wide shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs into a third plate or bowl.

2. Take a heaped tablespoon of the mashed potato and flatten it into a patty in the palm of your hand. Pop three or four cubes of Gouda in the centre and close the potato around them; shaping into a firm ball.  Make sure the cheese is completely enclosed, otherwise it will leak out when fried.  Continue to do this until you have four bon bons.

3. Roll the bon bons in the flour, shaking off any excess.  Then coat with the egg, shaking off any excess.  Then thoroughly coat in the breadcrumbs.  When you’ve done all four, pop them on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until you need to fry them.

4. After you’ve fried your goujons, pop the bon bons into the hot oil, and fry until the breadcrumbs are golden.  This will take just a few minutes.  Carefully drain on kitchen paper and serve whilst still hot.

You can plate up however you fancy, but I started with the Creamed Corn down the centre of the plate, on which I balanced three Goujons each.  Then I popped on a Bon Bon.  Two spoonfuls of Salsa either side of the Chicken and then a quenelle of the Tomato Mayonnaise atop the Chicken.  Then I just scattered the plate with Rocket and Watercress.  Four empty plates were returned to me at the end of the course, so I think they liked it!



From → Recipes

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