Tag Archives: Fried Chicken

Solita Brunch

9 Feb

Brunch [bruhnch]
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Chipotle Fried Chicken

20 Oct

Fried chicken heals souls; pretty much a personal mantra since my uni days, when my fellow students and I paid witness to the opening of Chicken Hut (also affectionately known as CHUT), a takeaway den of ill repute and the best fried chicken in Birmingham. The thighs and fries combo could assuage the meanest of promised hangovers, though over the years, CHUTs chicken burger eventually became the prize at the end of a night instead of the aforementioned aid to an easy Sunday morning. (Sad bitch). Yet who can deny the allure of crunchy, greasy, salty chicken?

This love affair with fried chicken has carried through the years, and given the proliferation of fried chicken joints on every local high street, one the nation seems keen to continue sharing in too. Though I eventually traded dirty takeaway dishes in for the more respectable (cough) offerings of KFC, the god awful service proved a most effective incentive against indulging more often than is decent, and with time (and a slowing metabolism), my after-hours flirtation with the tastiest of takeaway fodder almost ground to a halt.

Fear not though, my friends. This is not a tale of heartbreak. Having just lived through the year of the burger, and witnessed the rising obsession both in London and Manchester with all things American barbecue, fried chicken has started to make a name for itself again, though this time done up gourmet for the lovies out there. My first taste of the seriously good stuff was at a recent outing to Southern Eleven, and with Solita promising to put buttermilk fried chicken on the menu for an age, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I’ve been working on this little number for the last month or so, perfecting and playing around until I got the spicy, smoky flavour with a slightly salty hit that I was yearning for. I went west on one occasion using too much garlic, which completely overwhelmed the meat, and had a spectacularly stupid moment using cumin in my coating. Who needs a chilli flavoured fried chicken? Not me. Chipotle is THE winner, however, and along with a big hit of smoked paprika, there’ll be no secret recipe shit round this way. Good food is meant to be shared.*

Chipotle Fried Chicken

I made this for the gorgeous Helen and Robin, both Twitter friends and fellow foodies, both whom I met at Solita on its opening night. Served with a big bowl of buttery mash and a wilted spinach and garlic salad, it was the perfect dish for the end of a long day and a piss wet through Manchester night. What can I say? Fried chicken heals souls. So go. Cease with your dirty Dixy Chicken habit and make someone you love a bowl of freshly fried chicken.

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 600ml buttermilk
  • 4 teaspoons coriander – chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves – finely chopped
  • 1 onion – finely chopped
  • 2 chipotle chillies – dried
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 chicken thighs – skin removed

For the coating

  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Method

  1. For the marinade, combine all the ingredients for the marinade and coat the chicken in a shallow dish. Cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge, or for a minimum of 6 hours.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the coating. Remove the chicken from the marinade and dip into the spiced flour. Coat thoroughly and return to the fridge for a further 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  4. Heat 200ml vegetable oil to in a deep heavy-bottomed saucepan, until a breadcrumb sizzles and browns when dropped in it. (This oil gets mighty hot, so keep an eye on it and be careful when placing the chicken in and pulling it out). Add the coated chicken thighs and fry until golden all over. Remove and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Transfer to the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.

* My recipe is based on this Antony Worral Thompson piece from BBC Food. I’m sure he won’t mind my pinching it.

Southern Eleven

1 Aug

I’m not a big fan of Spinningfields. As a marketing lady, I feel a nod of approval is necessary for the slick branding and integrated communications the area and businesses within it masterfully wield, but this shiny, corporate area of town, home to a bizarre mix of designer shops, chain restaurants and the occasional interesting pop-up has none of the character seen in the other slightly less polished but infinitely more interesting parts of Manchester.

Seriously, if it weren’t for playing host to one of the four sunbathe worthy patches of grass in the whole of the city centre, I’d rarely go, but occasionally, Spinningfields spews up a new restaurant that I can’t resist, and in the case of Southern Eleven, I have managed to not resist going twice.

Southern Eleven, Manchester

Now, despite my profession, I’m not much one for being marketed to, and resultantly am a perpetual late adopter, so forgive me if when it comes to (the not so new) Southern Eleven, you devotees of the Manchester dining scene have heard it all before. However, for those of you that haven’t, much like my friend Debbie whose attention it first came to when I lustily tweeted pictures of their pulled pork, feel free to tuck in.

On my first visit, having had absolutely no exposure to southern American style barbecue,* I fully immersed myself in the southern tasting platter, including the aforementioned pulled pork in addition to tender strips of beef brisket, juicy pork belly ribs and the most ridiculously tasty and over seasoned fries I could ever care to eat. Good lord, it was good, and started a love affair with brisket that I hope never comes to pass.

This time, however, I left the red meat eating to Debbie, (quite rightly with her husband being a vegetarian), as after a week or so of gorging myself at both Solita NQ and Almost Famous, I’m all burgered out. Resultantly, I have been dreaming of a decent piece of fried chicken for weeks now, so when I spotted the southern chicken dinner, I was sold.

Southern Chicken Dinner. Fried Chicken, Creamy Whipped Potato and White Gravy.

A feast for Debbie. Riblets Plate. BBQ Rib Cut Offs, Skinny Fries and ‘Slaw’.

Subtly spiced, (for the life of me I couldn’t pick out what was in that coating), crispy skinned buttermilk marinated chicken served on whipped potato (mash with no lumps to you and me) and white gravy, a creamy, sweet and peppery concoction that I’d love to recreate, I was in comfort food heaven. Served up with a side of deep fried pickles, retaining some of their crunch and vinegary essence whilst coated in a batter which softened with time, this tasty stodge was perfect for the pissy Manchester night we picked to eat here.

Deep Fried Pickle Spears

Sadly, the décor has been influenced by the area in which it is based, being a little too over stylised for a ‘southern joint’ (though if they had presented me with a hoedown, I would have been equally offended). It’s a good looking place however, with a convivial atmosphere due the healthy turnaround on covers, and the service is warm and friendly, with staff who are passionate about what the restaurant has to offer, and quite rightly too.

Southern Eleven, Manchester

When you are taking care to marinate then smoke your meat for up to 18 hours, in this case with the sweet, smoky flavour of hickory, you’d be hard pressed to do a disservice to these southern ‘home-style’ dishes. Further kudos to the place for sourcing all its meat locally too, paying homage to the quality meats reared and butchered in the North West. It seems that despite its location, Southern Eleven is in no way lacking in soul.

* In addition to burgers and dude food, here we have another full on food trend all the way from the USA, seen at Burnt Enz down London way and Manchester’s upcoming Southern Summer Barbecue, courtesy of our very own Mangechester. Check out that menu people! I believe there are still some tickets left.