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Dorothy Dean presents: Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Crispy, golden twice-cooked fried chicken is moist, tender

UPDATED: Tue., Sept. 22, 2020

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Fried chicken is my all-time favorite food, so it’s no surprise that I’ve tried dozens of recipes looking for that perfect batch. While some were OK, others produced overcooked – er, burnt – crusts and dry meat or delectably crunchy crusts with pink, undercooked meat.

That had me on a mission to create what I thought was a foolproof (and simple) fried chicken recipe. And with that, my twice-cooked fried chicken was born.

Twice-cooked fried chicken is just that: twice-cooked. First in a slow cooker, then in a skillet.

This yields chicken that is equally moist and tender as it is crisp and golden.

It also takes away from the guessing game of “Is it done?”

The recipe is quite easy, and with it being precooked before frying, it also can be made in advance (winner, winner, chicken dinner!).

The magic of the slow cooker goes to work, simmering the chicken in a seasoned broth until it’s extra tender (but not falling off the bone).

The chicken is then soaked in a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce.

Here it stays for at least 20 minutes, or until you’re ready to fry it. (It also can stay soaking overnight in the fridge.)

The chicken is then dredged in seasoned flour and fried to create that irresistible golden-brown crust.

It’s juicy, robust and – you know the saying – finger lickin’ good!

(Actually, don’t be surprised if you feel the urge to throw on a white suit and string tie and have your family refer to you as “Colonel” after making this.)

I prefer drumsticks or thighs for this recipe; however, any pieces, or mixture of pieces, can be used.

And it’s great served with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or coleslaw.

Twice-Cooked Fried Chicken

1 chicken, cut in pieces, or any pieces you like (legs, thighs), about 4 pounds

3 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

For soaking:

2 cups buttermilk

½ cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)

For coating:

1½ cups flour

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons seasoning salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 onion powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Oil for frying

Add the chicken broth, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, paprika and lemon pepper into a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir and add in the chicken pieces. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Chicken should be cooked tender but not falling off the bone.

Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and carefully place the chicken on the rack.

Combine the buttermilk and hot sauce in a shallow baking dish and add in the cooked chicken, allowing chicken to soak for at least 20 minutes or until ready to coat and fry (up to overnight in a fridge).

In a shallow bowl, combine the flour and seasonings for the coating mixture and dredge each piece of chicken in it, coating well and shaking off the excess. Return the coated pieces to the wire rack.

Heat 2 inches of oil in skillet over medium high heat.

Once the oil is hot, fry a few pieces at a time, turning until browned and crisp on each side.

Drain on a paper towel and serve.

Audrey Alfaro can be reached at spoonandswallow@yahoo.com.

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