I haven't always been a food snob. When I was growing up in Stirling in the 1970s, I remember that McDonald's and Burger King seemed like the height of luxury and sophistication. Whenever we went down to London to visit my grandparents, my brother and I would insist that we immediately be taken to the nearest branch of McDonald's for a Big Mac and large fries with chocolate milkshake. My children, however, appear to have more sophisticated palates. Even when we find ourselves in an airport and the choices are limited, they refuse to succumb to the blandishments of Burger King.
In general, I admire the fact that their tastebuds are impervious to the marketing pressures of the culture in which we live. However, when they start making snide comments about Kentucky Fried Chicken (or KFC as it is now called) I draw the line. Nobody, but nobody, will ever convince me that that "oh so crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside" chicken is actually "slimy", let alone that the name change was the result of Col Sanders' close encounters with deep-fried rodents. I may have given up trying to persuade my kids to go to a branch of KFC, but I decided it was time to try and recreate the finger-lickin' taste at home.
one whole chicken
1 l water
4 teaspoons salt
300 ml milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
300 g plain flour
50 g fine polenta
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 teaspoons salt
- Joint the chicken into at least 10 portions. (Two wings, two thighs, two drumsticks, four breast portions)
- dissolve 4 teaspoons of salt in the water and soak the chicken in the salted water for at least two hours.
- Add the vinegar to the milk and leave to stand for at least an hour.
- In a large bowl, mix the milk and eggs.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour, polenta, oregano and salt.
- Drain the chicken, and dip the pieces in the milk and egg mixture, then in the seasoned flour.
- Heat about 1 cm of oil in two lidded frying pans to a medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the hot oil, reduce heat to minimum, cover pans and fry gently for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces, cover pans again and fry for another 5 minutes.
- Remove lids from pans, and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes. Turn pieces again and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the chicken is done.