I don’t eat fast food as a rule. (Tacos don’t count.) But rules are made to be broken, and who doesn’t like hot, garlicky fried chicken slathered in bleu cheese dip (courtesy of Heather) and hot sauce? I do, and I don’t even like bleu cheese. After taking the plunge on deep-frying for the first time—something I’ve always been intimidated by—I was itching to try my hand at classic fried chicken, the kind that’s breaded and salty and not remotely light. And despite taking a little longer to prepare than planned (I could only cook three legs at a time), it came out looking and tasting surprisingly classic.
Which felt like even more of an achievement when making it gluten-free.
As a word of caution: this is not a dish to cook in a skimpy outfit. Please be extremely careful when working with hot oil. (I wore long sleeves and a cooking mitt to protect myself from splatters.) And be sure to let the oil cool completely—ideally overnight—before disposing of it afterwards. You can’t be too cautious around hot oil, especially if you want to hold on to the skin on your arms and face.
I really hope you enjoy!
- 18 chicken legs, skin-on
- 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 ½ cups self-raising flour (gluten-free)
- ½ tsp xantham gum
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. cayenne
- 2 tsp. paprika
- 3 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. fresh black pepper
- at least 4 cups canola or vegetable oil
- a 1-quart heavy sauce pan or Dutch oven for frying
- a wire cooling rack
- thick glove
- paper bag
Mix cumin with buttermilk in a big bowl. Wash chicken and pat dry, then toss in buttermilk marinade until thoroughly covered. Marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes, even better if it’s 30-45. (Or overnight in the fridge.)
In a paper bag, combine flour with spices, salt, and pepper. (If you’re making this recipe with regular wheat flour, omit the xantham gum and add a pinch of cornstarch.) Feel free to play with the spice content.
Heat oil until it’s 350F, or bubbling. Drain as many pieces of chicken as will comfortably fit in your frying pan without touching, place in closed paper bag, and shake several times until pieces are completely covered in flour. Wearing gloves and using tongs, place chicken pieces in oil. They must be completely submerged in the oil. Once the crust has set on the chicken, after 1-2 minutes, turn the chicken so that it does not stick to the bottom of your pan. Cook with oil at a rolling boil for 12-15 minutes depending on the size of the legs, or until flour coating is a dark golden brown and chicken is firm when squeezed with the tongs.
Set on wire cooling rack over paper towels to drain. Serve hot with bleu cheese garlic mayonnaise, honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and/or lots of hot sauce.