Gluten-Free Batter-Fried Chicken
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/4 cup (60 g) plus 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 8 pieces chicken (a mix of breasts, thighs, legs, and wings, as you prefer)
- 6 cups (1.4 L) peanut oil, for frying
- 3 cups (336 g) Donut & Fritter Blend (page 47)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
In a large container with a lid, combine the celery and carrot with 1/4 cup (60 g) of the salt, the sugar, peppercorns, and 3 cups (720 ml) water and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Add the chicken pieces, cover, and refrigerate them for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. (Alternatively, combine the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and water in a saucepan and bring them to a boil for 5 minutes to intensify the flavors, then let it cool before transferring the brining mixture to a lidded container and adding the chicken and vegetables. Refrigerate as directed.)
To fry the chicken, in a large skillet (or, alternatively, in a deep-fryer), heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) on a deep-fry thermometer. Line a platter with paper towels, or line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.
Remove the chicken pieces from the brine and pat them dry very well with paper towels. Set them aside on a platter.
In a large bowl, combine the Donut & Fritter Blend, paprika, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and cayenne to taste (for a barely there vibration, use just 1/8 teaspoon). Whisk until they are well blended, cover, and let stand for at least 5 minutes. The flavors will be at their best if they have time to get acquainted.
Divide the dry ingredients evenly into two bowls. Into one bowl, whisk 3 cups (720 ml) water and stir to combine until the batter is lump free. The batter should be the consistency of a loose custard. If it looks like thick pudding, just whisk in some additional water, a few tablespoons at a time, until you have the consistency you need.
Roll the chicken pieces in the bowl with the dry ingredients, then dunk them in the wet mixture, and finally roll them in the dry ingredients again. Place the battered chicken on a platter or large baking sheet as you coat the other pieces.
Put just a few pieces of chicken into the oil at a time, cooking big pieces together and small pieces together. This way, each batch will be finished at the same time and you won't be overcooking smaller pieces or undercooking larger ones. Keep that oil hot, so the batter fries fast and doesn't absorb the oil. Fry the chicken pieces until they're golden brown and crispy, 12 to 15 minutes for breast halves and thighs, 8 to 10 minutes for legs, and 7 to 8 for wings. Using tongs, transfer the fried chicken pieces to the brown bag or paper towel-lined platter to drain the excess oil.
Serve the chicken any old way you please!
Slice a few garlic cloves thinly and heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot (a drop of water should sizzle when it hits the oil), add the garlic and fry until it is golden brown and crispy, watching carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and drain it on a paper towel-lined plate.