Crispy Cajun Fried Chicken

Crispy-Cajun-Fried-Chicken

Nothing says summer like mouthwatering fried chicken done right. Whether you're a fried chicken pro or a first-time fryer, you'll love our spicy spin on this all-American favorite. For a complete meal, serve it with our Spicy Slaw and Bayou Sauce.

Serves: 4
Active prep time: 40 min
Non-active prep time: 2-3 hr
Frying: 25-30 min
Difficulty: intermediate
Special tools: tongs, wire rack, sheet pan, 8-qt heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, fryer thermometer

Ingredients

Cajun Seasoning Mix (makes 1/2 c)
5 t paprika
4 t ea salt and garlic powder
2 1/2 t ea dried oregano and dried thyme
2 t ea black pepper, onion powder and cayenne
1 t ea red pepper flakes and ground bay leaf

Fried Chicken
4 T Cajun seasoning, divided (see above)
1 1/2 c buttermilk
1 t salt
2 T sugar
1 whole chicken (approx. 3 1/2 lb), cut up, breasts halved
2 c all-purpose flour
1 lg egg
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
12 c peanut or canola oil for deep frying

Spicy Slaw
1 T lemon juice
3 T cider vinegar
2 T sugar
1 1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 c mayonnaise
2 T sour cream
3 T horseradish, freshly grated
1 T creole mustard
4 c green cabbage (approx. 1/2 med cabbage), shredded
1 c carrots, shredded or cut into matchsticks
2 T green onions, finely sliced
1 lg cucumber peeled, seeded and finely sliced (approx. 1 1/2 c)
2 jalapenos, seeded, finely diced
1 c red tart apple, such as Braeburn or Pink Lady, cut into thin matchsticks

Bayou Sauce
1/2 c mayo
1/4 c ea chili sauce and ketchup
2 T veg oil
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 t ea onion powder, Worcestershire and minced garlic
1/2 t ea paprika and black pepper
1/2 t yellow mustard, prepared
3 dashes hot sauce

Steps

Crispy Cajun Fried Chicken
In a large bowl, combine 2 T Cajun seasoning, buttermilk, salt and sugar. Add chicken, coating well. Marinate, covered, in refrigerator 2-3 hr or up to 8 hr.

In another large bowl, combine flour and 2 T Cajun seasoning.

Remove chicken, shake off excess liquid, reserving marinade. Coat chicken a few pieces at a time in flour mixture. Shake off excess and place pieces on large plate.

Drip 3 T marinade into flour and mix with a fork to create small bits of dough. Then stir in egg, baking powder and baking soda into remaining buttermilk marinade; mixture will bubble and foam.

Using tongs, dip chicken into egg mixture, turning to coat. Dredge chicken in flour again, lightly pressing to adhere bits. Shake off excess, then return to plate.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees. In 8-qt heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to 350 degrees, approx. 2 1/2" deep, checking with fryer thermometer.

Fry half of chicken pieces until deep golden brown, approx. 12-16 min. Flip pieces for even browning halfway through frying. Maintain oil temp at 325 degrees (too hot and coating will be dark; not hot enough will result in greasy, soggy crust). Chicken should reach 165 degrees when checked with a cooking thermometer.

Drain chicken on paper towel-lined plate and transfer to a wire rack on a sheet pan and keep warm in oven while frying remaining pieces.

Bring oil to 350 degrees and repeat frying process. Replace the paper towel on plate and drain the pieces.

Spicy Slaw
In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, onions, cucumber, jalapenos and apple. Add dressing and mix well to combine. Refrigerate at least 1 hr for flavors to meld.

Bayou Sauce
Whisk together all ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.