So Thanksgiving came and went. Since I was too tired to take any pictures (or eat much of the food I cooked) yesterday I will be posting small plates of all the food I made as I get to trying them today.
First up is fried chicken and collared greens. My mom's from South Carolina, originally, and so I already had collared greens on the menu. (Fresh Direct likes to put them on sale during the holidays so I buy 8 bunches of the organic kind and call it a day).
I hate cleaning collared greens, by the way. Really puts a damper on my day having to painstakingly examine every leaf after salting then soaking since I'm a bug-o-phobe. Anyway... Wednesday evening I started the ham hocks in a big pot of water and boiled them till they fell off the bone. Then I added the greens in a lazy chiffonade (because everything I do is lazy :P) and let them cook till they were done.
Last year I did the greens Ethiopian style with this awesome butter that I didn't have time to make. I like both ways, actually.
The fried chicken was a last minute request by my mom last weekend so I added it to the menu (we had ham as the main protein). I also tried a new seasoning from Spices and Tease (special poultry) that I'm very on the fence about. I'd brought it for my stuffing, but then realized it wasn't going to work even if I added the metric ton of sage I got from them so I used it on the fried chicken.
The thighs were fried in lard (from the same place I got the ham) mixed with peanut oil. This yielded super crispy skin that lasted overnight.
collared greens and ham hocks
- 7-8 small bunches of collared greens (less if your bunches are larger, mine were about the size of a bunch of spinach)
- 2-3 ham hocks (really depends if you're just using them for the flavor or you actually want to eat some. You can also use salt pork, bacon, ham, smoked turkey necks, seasoned butter with garlic and onion, or whatever you want to give them flavor.)
- red pepper flakes
- sugar (optional) [my mom says you're supposed to add sugar in the winter since winter greens are bitter. I don't like sugar in my greens, ever)
- apple cider vinegar (to taste, or not at all)
- black pepper & salt to taste ( be careful with the salt if using any of the smoked meats)
Fill a large pot with water and add the ham hocks to it. If using other types of meats you want to brown/cook them first to intensify the flavor before adding water. Cook until water is reduced to 1/4th of its volume.
While the water is boiling, clean and chop your collared greens. You should aim to start this about an hour or so before the stock is done.
Add greens to the stock and cover with a lid. If all the greens can't fit in the pot at once just add them and wait a few minutes till they wilt then continue.
Cook until they're done. Basically, I like my greens to be soft so I cook them longer. If you like them crisper then cook them until they're deep green, but before they turn the darker, less saturated green in my picture.
Serve with hot sauce and vinegar or lemon slices.
last minute fried chicken
- 12 pieces of chicken
- Seasoning like adobo, berbere, lemon pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, etc
- black pepper
- lard, peanut oil, or any type of oil except coconut (it foams when you place floured items in it and will bubble all over you stove. >.<)
ash chicken in a bowl in cold water and a little vinegar. After rinsing for the last time dump all your seasonings into the bowl and work into the chicken meat. Place the chicken and any liquid left in the bottom of the bowl in a ziplock bag and place in the fridge till ready to cook.
Heat the oil of your choice in a heavy, deep pan. I use a Staub cocotte to fry my chicken in because it's got the great heat qualities of cast iron and it's tall enough that the oil won't splash all over the place.
Place about 4-6 pieces of chicken in at a time depending on their size. Cook until very crispy and golden brown.
Sometimes I brine my chicken, sometimes I use buttermilk, most times I just season and fry cause it's quicker and takes less forethought.