It's Just So Good

Even though I am a chef instructor at the uber-French oriented Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Chicago, more often than not, good old American comfort food classics tend to be the dishes I find myself dreaming of, drooling over, or devouring. It's not that I don't sincerely enjoy French food and cooking techniques...I do. But the honest simplicity of certain recipes from the American comfort/soul food/picnic-fare genre speaks to me on a level that needs no translation.

The one dish that I am referring to today is, of course, fried chicken. Golden, crunchy, salty, spicy, juicy, tender, soul satisfying deep-fried poultry goodness. There is almost nothing better. I'm sure there are many people that don't share my passion for this classic preparation, and that's fine...I don't understand why, but to each their own.

In my class yesterday evening, I was teaching my students how to break down a whole chicken into pieces suitable for use in any number of recipes. The particular cooking technique and recipe they were focusing their attention on for this class was a saute © of a chicken breast served with a classic French sauce called Chasseur, and a potato preparation known as Pommes Rissoler. This is certainly a very tasty dish, but can you guess what I did with the few extra chickens that we had leftover? That's right. It took me no time at all to realize that if we had extra chickens, we were going to cut them up, soak the pieces in buttermilk, season them, dredge them in spicy flour, and deep-fry them at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until they were GBD (chef instructor speak for golden brown and delicious). This was the chicken preparation I was dreaming of and drooling over all apologies to the Poulet Saute Chassuer aux Pommes Rissoler.

While it’s true that I have one taste of each of my students' creations for purposes of constructive criticism, just one taste of fried chicken is never enough, so I made sure that I ate four or five pieces in between bites of the French haute cuisine "poulet". And when this chef eats fried chicken, it has to be drizzled with honey and hot sauce. If you have yet to try it that way, don't wait too much're depriving yourself of one of the world's most delicious experiences.

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