Musings about Food & the Politics of Food.

TartQueen's Kitchen



Nashville Hot Chicken 0

Posted on July 09, 2016 by Sahar

In my travels, I’ve eaten a lot of dishes – some great, some good, and some that should be buried in the backyard.

In my travels to Nashville, I’ve come across something that could only be described as one of the great ones: Nashville Hot Chicken.  It’s a wonderful amalgamation of fried chicken and spices that, up until 3 years ago, I’d never seen anywhere else.  Now, Hot Chicken is spreading all over the country with even KFC getting into the act (ugh.).

Here’s a brief history of the originators of Nashville Hot Chicken from wikipedia:

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that spicy fried chicken has been served in Nashville for generations. The current dish may have been introduced as early as the 1930s, however, the current style of spice paste may only date back to the mid-1970s. It is generally accepted that the originator of hot chicken is the family of Andre Prince Jeffries, owner of Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. She has operated the restaurant since 1980; before that time, it was owned by her great-uncle, Thornton Prince III. Although impossible to verify, Jeffries says the development of hot chicken was an accident. Her great-uncle Thornton was purportedly a womanizer, and after a particularly late night out his girlfriend at the time cooked him a fried chicken breakfast with extra pepper as revenge. Instead, Thornton decided he liked it so much that, by the mid-1930s, he and his brothers had created their own recipe and opened the BBQ Chicken Shack café.”

Now, I have not had the opportunity to eat at Princes on my visits to Nashville; but, just by luck, Husband Steve & I have stayed at a hotel across the street from another very popular Hot Chicken stand, Hattie B’s.

Hattie B's

Hattie B’s

A typical Hattie B's plate

A typical Hattie B’s plate

If you want a seat, especially on Sunday, get in line early before they open.  It’s almost like the Franklin Barbecue of Nashville.

Now, of course, when Steve & I were back home, I wanted to be able to make this. I was spurred on by Steve actually wanting me to figure out how to make this so we didn’t have to wait for another trip to Nashville. (Although there are many great reasons to go there.) As an added incentive, Younger Nephew – Food Enthusiast – has pretty much requested I make this every time he visits.

I started by looking up what might be the authentic Hattie B’s recipe.  I made it and liked it quite a bit.  However, it seemed something was lacking; I wasn’t sure if this was simply an interpretation of the original, something was left out (which happens more often than most realize), or I missed something in the preparation.

I decided to take the recipe I found and tailor it more to my tastes – slightly more smokey and sweet-heat.  I still keep most definitely to the spirit of the original, but here is my version of Nashville Hot Chicken (as inspired by Hattie B’s).

 

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

The Spices

The Spices. Clockwise from top left: black pepper, salt, hot sauce, Spanish paprika, dark brown sugar, ground garlic, ground onion, paprika, cayenne

 

Marinating:

1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 to 4 lbs. -or- the same weight of chicken in parts (i.e. wings, drumsticks)

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. hot sauce (i.e. Tabasco, Original Louisiana)

 

Dip & Dredge:

1 c. whole milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

 

Spice Coating:

1/2 c. hot cooking oil

1 tbsp. cayenne (more or less to taste)

2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. Spanish (smoked) paprika

1/2 tsp. ground garlic

1/2 tsp. ground onion

 

Unflavored oil and/or lard for frying (approximately 4 cups total)

 

 

If you are using a whole chicken, cut it either into quarters or into 8 pieces. (I usually have the back as a separate piece and generally throw it into the freezer bag with  other chicken pieces for stock. However, if you want to fry it up, too, go for it.)

The chicken cut into quarters, plus the back, using my new favorite tool, chicken shears.

The chicken cut into quarters, plus the back, using my new favorite tool, chicken shears.

If you’re using just one type of part, like the wing, you can, of course, skip this step.

 

In a large bowl, toss the chicken with the 1 teaspoon of salt and the hot sauce making sure it is evenly coated.  Either keep the chicken in the bowl covered with plastic wrap or move it to a large zip bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to 24.

The chicken ready to be marinated.

The chicken ready to be marinated.

 

After the chicken has marinated, take it out of the fridge and set aside.  Have a plate ready for the breaded chicken and a baking sheet lined with paper towels.

Have 2 large bowls. In one, beat together the milk and eggs. In the other, mix together the flour, 2 teaspoons salt & 1 teaspoon pepper.

The dip and the dredge

The dip and the dredge

 

First, lightly dredge the chicken in the flour, making sure it is fully coated, making sure to shake off any excess flour.

First dredge. It's a messy business.

First dredge. It’s a messy business.

Second, dip the chicken into the dip; again, making sure the chicken is completely coated and letting any excess dip drip off.

The dip

The dip

Third, dredge the chicken again in the flour, once again making sure it is fully coated and making sure any wet spots are re-coated with the flour.

The dredged, dipped, and dredged chicken ready for the fryer.

The dredged, dipped, and dredged chicken ready for the fryer.

Set the chicken aside and heat the oil and/or lard to 350F. I like to use a half & half blend of oil and lard.  I find lard alone to be too strong a flavor even though I like the way it cooks the chicken; so, I cut it with the oil and it is fine for me.  You do what you prefer.

*I know the more traditional amongst you will be appalled at the fact I use an electric skillet for my frying rather than cast-iron.  The fact of the matter is, I’m usually doing other things as well and I simply don’t have the time, patience, or attention span to constantly monitor the heat of the oil.  Hence, the electric skillet.

Once the oil is at the correct temperature, place the chicken in the hot oil and let it fry for 5 – 7 minutes before turning over.

Frying the chicken. As a general rule, white meat takes less time to cook than dark. A good rule of thumb is 15 - 18 minutes for white meat, 20 - 22 for dark meat.

Frying the chicken. As a general rule, white meat takes less time to cook than dark. A good rule of thumb is 15 – 18 minutes for white meat, 20 – 22 for dark meat.

I will admit here I am the queen of turning over my chicken frequently in the skillet as it fries.  It’s easier for me to control how browned it becomes and I can more easily gauge the doneness of the chicken.

A note on frying: There are three basic mistakes everyone has made when frying: oil too cold, oil too hot, pan overcrowding. 

Problem One: Oil too cold – If your oil is too cold when you put in your food, it will absorb oil. A lot of oil.  The food must sizzle when you put it in; this is a result of the moisture pushing back against the heat of the oil. This is what helps to keep your food from becoming greasy. While frying foods will most definitely absorb some oil, they don’t need to be greasy, sodden messes.

Problem Two: Oil too hot – If your oil is too hot, it pretty much should go without saying that the exterior will be done, and even burn, long before the inside is done.

Problem Three: Pan overcrowding – If you overcrowd your skillet, the oil temperature will drop too low, the food will take too long to cook, become greasy, and if you have any coating it will fall off. Make sure that you have plenty of real estate for your food and that it doesn’t touch anything else in the skillet. Another added bonus, it’s easier to turn the food when the skillet isn’t crowded. This can be said for frying and pan searing. You want your food to fry, not steam or become greasy.

 

After several turns

After several turns.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the cayenne, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the paprikas, the ground garlic, and the ground onion.

The spice mix

The spice mix

Once the chicken is done, take it out of the oil and set aside to drain. You can make sure the chicken is done one of 2 ways: a) Make a small slit on the underside and if the juices are clear, the chicken is done; b) you can also carefully use an instant read thermometer by sticking it into the thickest part of the meat making sure not to hit any bone (avian bones are hollow and absorb heat faster, so if you hit one, you will get a false reading). It must be at least 150F for the chicken to be done. (I’ve also gone so far as to make a slit in the meat all the way down to the bone to make sure there was no pink.)

Take 1/2 cup of the hot oil and carefully ladle it into the spice mixture and whisk together. (The hot oil cooks the spices and makes them taste less raw.)

The oil and spices

The oil and spices

You can put this blend on the chicken one of two ways: either toss the chicken in the spice coating (which works well if you’re using a part like wings), or brush it on (which works best for larger pieces).

Brushing the coating on the chicken. ake sure to get both the oil and the spices as you dip the brush in (The spices don't really dissolve and will settle at the bottom of the bowl, so frequent stirring is necessary).

Brushing the coating on the chicken. Make sure to get both the oil and the spices as you dip the brush in. (The spices don’t really dissolve and will settle at the bottom of the bowl, so frequent stirring is necessary.)

Traditional accompaniments with the Nashville Hot Chicken are white bread (think Mrs. Baird’s or Buttercrust) and pickles; additional accompaniments can be greens, macaroni & cheese, sweet potatoes (mashed or fried), cole slaw, beans, potato salad, and fried okra.

The chicken served with potato salad and fried okra. I discovered too late I did't have pickles.

The chicken served with white bread, potato salad and fried okra. I discovered too late I didn’t have pickles. I’ve never seen chicken served on white bread anywhere else except in the deep South. It’s another way to sop up the juices. Husband thinks it’s the best part.

 

Happy Eating!

 

Mole Poblano 1

Posted on November 07, 2013 by Sahar

Once again, the weather has taken its temporary turn towards cool & comfortable here in Central Texas.  The perfect excuse to break out the mole.  Again.

I’ve made mole twice before on this blog –  Mole Verde (Oct. 9, 2012: http://www.tartqueenskitchen.com/?p=1120) and Mole Rojo (Oct. 30. 2012: http://www.tartqueenskitchen.com/?p=1170).

The mole I’m making this time is probably the best known as well as the original: Mole Poblano.

Legend has it that in the 16th Century this  dish was invented in desperation by the nuns of the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla de los Angeles.  They were an impoverished order expecting a visit from the Archbishop and they really had nothing to feed him.  So, they basically threw together what they had: day-old bread, chocolate, some chiles, nuts, an old turkey.  The results were, shall we say, heavenly.  Apparently, the Archbishop loved the meal. And a masterpiece was created.

*******************

For the last mole I made for you, Mole Rojo, I used exclusively chili powders.  This was to demonstrate that they could be used as a substitution for the dried chiles and makes the preparation much easier.  In this recipe, I do things the more traditional way, with dried chiles.  It takes longer, most definitely.  But, for mole purists, I hope I have redeemed myself with you.

A few notes:

1.  When using the dried chiles, make sure they are fresh-looking and pliable (a contradiction, I know).  If the chiles break apart when you try to bend them, it simply means they are too old and dried out (and possibly infested).  You want the chilies to have retained their essential oils.  That’s what gives them their flavor and aroma.

2.  The best place to find the chiles (and all the ingredients for this recipe) is at a market that caters to the Hispanic community. (Here in Austin, my favorite is El Rancho Supermercado.)  If they don’t have it, it’s pretty unlikely anyone else will.  Besides, it’s a great place to go to just explore and try new things. Plus I get to practice my limited Spanish.

3.  I used a 4-lb bone-in turkey breast for this example.  You can use leftover turkey and skip step 1.  However, be sure to use chicken or turkey broth instead of water.  Otherwise, you won’t get the flavor you’re looking for.

4.  This recipe makes a lot.  You can serve up to 8.  But, it does freeze beautifully.

 

The Ingredients

The Ingredients

Sesame and Anise Seeds

Sesame and Anise Seeds

Clockwise:

Clockwise: Brown Sugar, ground Cloves, ground Cinnamon

Clockwise: raw Almonds, Pecans, Raisins

Clockwise: raw Almonds, Pecans, Raisins

Masa

Masa

 

Onion, Garlic, Romas, Tomatillos

Onion, Garlic, Romas, Tomatillos

 

Mexican Chocolate disks

Mexican Chocolate disks

 

Chiles, left to right: Chipotle, Pasilla, Ancho, Mulatto

Chiles, left to right: Chipotle, Pasilla, Ancho, Mulato

 

Chipotle - smoked and dried Jalapeño

Chipotle – smoked and dried Jalapeño

 

Pasilla Chilie: dried Chilaca pepper.

Pasilla Chilie – dried Chilaca pepper.

Ancho Chile - dried Poblano Pepper

Ancho Chile – dried Poblano Pepper

Mulato Chile - dried Mulato Pepper

Mulato Chile – dried Mulato Pepper

 

4 c. chicken broth, turkey broth, or water

4 lbs. turkey

 

8 ea. mulato chiles

-or-

4 tbsp. mulato chile powder

 

6 ea. ancho chiles

-or-

3 tbsp. ancho chile powder

 

4 ea. pasilla chiles

-or-

2 tbsp. chile powder

 

1 ea. chipotle chile

-or-

1 tsp. chipotle chile powder

 

1 lg. white onion, peeled and cut into 1/4’s, stem left on

6 cloves garlic, peeled, stem removed

3 ea. tomatillos, papery skin removed and rinsed

4 ea. Roma tomatoes, rinsed

2 tbsp. sesame seeds

1/2 tsp. anise seeds

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1/2 c. raw almonds

1/2 c. pecans

1/2 c. raisins

1/4 c. masa

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/2 ground cinnamon (canela)

2 tbsp. brown sugar

2 tbsp. tomato paste

2 disks Mexican chocolate, chopped

Salt & pepper to taste

Additional sesame seeds for garnish

 

1.  Place the turkey and stock or water to a large stockpot and heat over medium-high heat.  Once the stock has come to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer until the meat is cooked, about 30 – 45 minutes.  Once the turkey is done, take it from the stock and set aside until cool enough to shred.  Turn the heat off under the stock until all the other ingredients are ready.

2.  If you’re using whole chiles, remove the stems and cut the chiles open to remove the seeds.

Cutting open the chile. Using gloves is highly recommended. Tis not only keeps your hands from getting stained and sticky, it keeps the chile oils off your hands.

Cutting the stem off  the chile. Using gloves is highly recommended. This not only keeps your hands from getting stained and sticky, it keeps the chile oils off your hands. A pair of sharp kitchen shears helps, too.

Cutting open the chile.

Cutting open the chile.

The insides. You want to get rid of as many seeds and veins as possible.  They'll make the final mole bitter if you don't.

The insides. You want to get rid of as many seeds and veins as possible. They’ll make the final mole bitter if you don’t.

Removing the seeds and veins.  If you have a good dried chile, there will be some oil residue inside. This is a good thing.  And, again, the gloves are a very good idea.

Removing the seeds and veins. If you have a good dried chile, there will be some oil residue inside. This is a good thing. And, again, the gloves are a very good idea.

Dry roast the chiles in a heavy skillet over high heat for a few seconds on each side to soften slightly.

Toasting the chiles. This not only helps to soften them up a bit, but it also starts to cook the oils and enhance the flavor.

Toasting the chiles. This not only helps to soften them up a bit, but it also starts to cook the oils and enhance the flavor.

Place the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Let sit for 30 minutes. (It’s OK if they sit a little longer.)

Soaking the chiles.  I like to put a small plate on top to keep them under water.

Soaking the chiles. I like to put a small plate on top to keep them under water.

Drain the chiles and discard the water.

The chiles after soaking for 30 minutes.  They'll increase in size and become lighter in color.

The chiles after soaking for 30 minutes. They’ll increase in size and become lighter in color. (The water hasn’t been drained off in this photo. Be sure to drain it.)

Puree the chiles in a food processor or blender (you’ll need to do this in batches) until you make a paste.  Set aside.

The pureed chiles.

The pureed chiles.

3.  If you’re using the chile powders, dry roast them over high heat in a heavy skillet until they just begin to release a scent.  Stir constantly to be sure the powders don’t burn.  Pour the powder onto a plate or another flat surface and spread it out to help it cool. (Basically, skip step 2 all together.)

4.  While the chiles are soaking, wipe out the pan.  Dry roast the onion quarters, garlic, tomatillos, and tomato.  You want black spots, but you don’t want to over-brown the vegetables.

Browning the fresh stuff: Starting with garlic.  You just want a few brown spots; don't over-brown.

Browning the fresh stuff: Starting with garlic. You just want a few brown spots; don’t over-brown.

Browning the onion quarters. Once these are cool enough to handle, cut off the stem ends.

Browning the onion quarters. Once these are cool enough to handle, cut off the stem ends.

 

The tomatillos.  Be sure they don't burst in the skillet.

The tomatillos. Be sure they don’t burst in the skillet.

The Romas. be sure they don't burst in the skillet. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off as much of the skin as you can, cut off the stem end, cut into quarters, and remove the seeds.

The Romas. Be sure they don’t burst in the skillet. When they are cool enough to handle, peel off as much of the skin as you can, cut off the stem end, cut into quarters, and remove the seeds.

Once you’ve roasted the tomatoes, peel and seed them.  Cut the stems off the onion quarters.  Set the vegetables aside.

5.  Take the skillet off the heat and let cool slightly.  Add the sesame seeds and anise seeds.  Quickly roast until the seeds are toasted.  Pour onto a small plate and set aside.

Toasting the sesame and anise seeds.  You want them to have an aroma and begin to "jump" in the skillet.  Immediately take them off the heat and pour onto a flat surface and spread out to cool.

Toasting the sesame and anise seeds. You want them to have an aroma and begin to “jump” in the skillet. Immediately take them off the heat and pour onto a flat surface and spread out to cool.

6.  Add the oil to the skillet.  Lightly fry the almonds and pecans.  Drain on paper towels and let cool slightly.

Frying the pecans and almonds.  You just want to do this until they begin to take on some extra color.

Frying the pecans and almonds. You just want to do this until they begin to take on some extra color.

Grind the almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, and anise seeds together.  Set aside.

The ground nuts and seeds.  This smells amazing.

The ground nuts and seeds. This smells amazing.

7.  Lightly fry the raisins until they just begin to puff.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

Frying the raisins.

Frying the raisins.

8.  Turn off the heat under the oil.  Add the masa and make a roux (don’t let it get too dark).  Pour the roux into a small bowl and set aside.

Making a roux with now a rather flavorful oil.

Making a roux with now a rather flavorful oil.

9.  Turn the heat back on under the stockpot with the broth to medium-high.  Add in the chile paste or powder, onion, garlic, tomatillos, tomatoes, ground nut & spice mix, raisins, tomato paste, brown sugar, cloves, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Almost everything in the pot with the chicken/turkey stock.

Almost everything in the pot with the chicken/turkey stock.

10.  Meanwhile, shred the turkey.  Discard any bone, skin, and gristle.  Set the turkey aside.

Shredded turkey.  In this recipe, I used turkey breast; but, you can use whatever you prefer. If you have leftover turkey, use both dark and white meat.

Shredded turkey. In this recipe, I used turkey breast; however, use whatever you prefer.

11.  After 45 minutes, remove the stockpot from the heat and let cool slightly.

After 45 minutes.  The vegetables have softened and the ground nuts have helped to thicken the sauce.

After 45 minutes. The vegetables have softened and the ground nuts have helped to thicken the sauce.

Puree the mole with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor.  If you want a super-smooth mole, after you’ve pureed it, you can pass it through a strainer.

Thoroughly puree the mole. Make sure the blender isn't running when you pull it out of the hot liquid. Bless whoever invented the immersion blender.

Thoroughly puree the mole. Make sure the blender isn’t running when you pull it out of the hot liquid.
Bless whoever invented the immersion blender.

12.  Put the mole back on the heat and add the masa roux and the chocolate.

Adding the masa roux and chocolate. They just melt right on in.

Adding the masa roux and chocolate. They just melt right on in.

Cook for 5 minutes.  Taste for seasoning.  Add the turkey and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stirring in the turkey.  Almost there.

Stirring in the turkey.
Almost there.

13.  Serve the mole with rice and corn tortillas.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.

The ultimate reward for all your hard work.

The ultimate reward for all your hard work.

 

Buen Apetito!

 

 



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