Clipped From The Californian

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 - Countless recipes have been tried out in the...
Countless recipes have been tried out in the Chicago Tribune test kitchen but never one quite like this. Our mission: find out if 11ingredients handwritten on a piece of paper could be t he secret blend of 11herbs and spices that go into Kentucky Fried Chicken’s O riginal Recipe — a closely guarded form ula that remains one of the world’s big- g est culinary mysteries. The recipe came to us by way of Colonel Harland Sanders’ nephew, Joe Ledington of Kentucky. He says he found it in a scrapbook belonging to his late Aunt Claudia, Sanders’ second wife. Ledington, 67, says he used to blend the spices that went into his uncle’s world-famous f ried chicken, and the recipe in question is the real deal. We wanted to see — make that taste — for ourselves. So we put it to the test. Our aim was not to replicate the exact c ooking method used by KFC. That method has been explored and written about by others. Indeed, we decided to soak the raw chicken in a buttermilk-egg bath before frying based on some of those descriptions. Instead, we wanted to test the spice blend detailed in the recipe, which also calls for two cups of white flour. Several batches of chicken were prep ared in the Tribune test kitchen by recipe tester and stylist Lisa Schumacher. Food & Dining reporters and editors tasted each batch, comparing it to a bucket o f KFC Original Recipe fried chicken t hat we purchased at the restaurant at 1 144 S. Western Ave. in Chicago. W e bought all new herbs and spices — common grocery store brands — for the testing. We used all-purpose flour and standard table salt. T he spice recipe, as written: 1 1Spices – Mix With 2 Cups White Fl. 1 ) 2/3 Ts Salt 2) { Ts Thyme 3) { Ts Basil 4) 1/3 Ts Origino (sic) 5 ) 1Ts Celery Salt 6 ) 1Ts Black Pepper 7 ) 1Ts Dried Mustard 8) 4 Ts Paprika 9) 2 Ts Garlic Salt 10) 1Ts Ground Ginger 11) 3 Ts White Pepper The first challenge was to determine what that capital T meant. Standard practice in abbreviating recipe measures has a capital T standing for tables poon. But what if the person who wrote the list on a seemingly random piece of paper meant teaspoon? So we tested the spice mix both ways: with teaspoon mea- s ures and with tablespoon measures, b oth mixed into two cups of flour. I n comparing those first two batches, t asters immediately agreed that the answer was: T equals tablespoons. After frying, the coating with the lesser amount of herbs and spices did not have t he intensity of flavor we were looking f or. B ut even the flavor of the favored batch wasn’t quite right. Turns out the frying oil was too hot, causing the breading to brown too much, which overpow- e red the taste of the herbs and spices. F or the next couple batches, Schum acher tried double dipping into the spice and flour mixture. Too much coat- ing, tasters decided. With the oil temperature just right at 350 degrees, the chicken soaked in buttermilk and coated just once in the breading mixture, we had our final tasting. How was it? Well, really good. In fact, t asters agreed the test kitchen fried chicken was even better than the Colonel’s. But more important, did it taste like t he Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and s pices? It came very close, yet some- t hing was still missing. That’s when a rep orter grabbed a small container of the MSG flavor-enhancer Accent (how did that get in the test kitchen?) and sprinkled it on a piece of the fried chicken. T hat did the trick. O ur chicken was virtually indistin- g uishable from the batch bought at KFC. (Does KFC add MSG? A KFC spokesperson confirms that it does use it in the Original Recipe chicken.) B ottom line, could this be the Colon el’s secret blend of 11herbs and spices? W e sure think so. The only folks who can say definitively are the keepers of the recipe at KFC’s parent company, Yum! B rands. We asked, but the company would only say, “Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s e ver been right.” A ll we know is the recipe we tested c ertainly tastes like KFC. And whatever it is, it’s finger lickin’ good. KFC recipe challenge is a tasty task Chicago Tribune kitchen putsherbs, s pices to the test JOE GRAY CHICAGO TRIBUNE TNS We didn’t taste much of a difference between Kentucky Fried Chicken, right, and the fried chicken, left, on wire rack, we made in our test kitchen. Fried chicken with 11herbs and spices Prep: 30 minutes, Soak: 20-30 minutes, Cook: 15-18 minutes, Makes: 4 servings Ingredients 2cups all-purpose flour 2 ⁄ 3 tablespoon salt 1 ⁄ 2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves 1 ⁄ 2 tablespoon dried basil leaves 1 ⁄ 3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves 1tablespoon celery salt 1tablespoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon dried mustard 4tablespoons paprika 2tablespoons garlic salt 1 tablespoon ground ginger 3tablespoons ground white pepper 1cup buttermilk 1 egg, beaten 1chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying Expeller-pressed canola oil Instructions Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and s pices; set aside. Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate bowl until combined. Soak the chick- e n in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature, 20-30 minutes. Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allow- i ng excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides, shaking off excess. Allow to sit on a rack over abaking sheet, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) over medium-high heat to 350 d egrees. (Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature.) When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to main- t ain it at 350. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, 15-18 min- u tes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more c hicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Clipped from
  1. The Californian,
  2. 24 Aug 2016, Wed,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page B2

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