Aired October 5, 2010
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large shallots, coarsely chopped
2 to 3 large fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon coarse black pepper
A handful fresh thyme leaves
1 Fresno chili pepper, chopped
A generous handful parsley
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce
2 tablespoons kosher or fine sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
About 1 1/2 quarts water
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breasts, breast pieces cut in half
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated garlic, a couple of scant palmfuls
2 tablespoons granulated onion
2 tablespoons powdered mustard
2 tablespoons paprika or smoked sweet paprika
1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
About 1/4 to 1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the brine: Add garlic, shallots, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, chili pepper and parsley to a food processor and process into a paste. Add paste to a large plastic food storage bag and add Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, sugar and water. Squish to combine. Drop chicken into bag and chill 6 hours or overnight.
Drain chicken from brining liquid. Coat the pieces in flour and cornmeal seasoned with dried garlic, onion, mustard and paprika.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a large, cast-iron skillet, heat a thin layer of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces until crispy on one side. Flip and cook 2-3 minutes more, then transfer to a baking sheet and pop them in the oven to cook through, 12-15 minutes more. Serve hot, cold or at room temperature.
Alternate method: Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches to avoid crowding the pan. Transfer the chicken to a baking sheet topped with a cooling rack so the heat can circulate around the chicken. Cook through, about 10-12 minutes, until extra-crispy and firm.