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Binging with Babish: KFC from Stranger Things

Feb 20, 2020
"I forgot the time and then before I knew it..." "...Oh my God, it's 5 o'clock." "It's okay." "Right." "It's great!" "I love KFC." "Ah, but-" "-Excuse me, I'll be right back." *Free Crunch* "It's scrumptious." *grunt of approval* BABISH: Heywhazzup guys, welcome back to "Binging with Babish" where, this week, I'm very excited to announce that the official "Binging with Babish Cookbook: The First 100 Recipes from the Show" is available . to reserve now. Head over to where if you pre-order before the October 22 release date, you'll get access to special content. More than later, because I seem to have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 herbs and spices in front of me.
binging with babish kfc from stranger things
So, we must be taking a crack at the Colonel. Although I will argue that there must be a 12th herb and/or spice... ... that is MSG because it is listed on their ingredient list. Which is not a dig at KFC; MSG is delicious. (And totally sure) So, with that in mind, let's build our chicken breading. We start with: 2/3 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon basil 1/3 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon celery salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 1 teaspoon dry mustard 4 teaspoons paprika 2 teaspoons garlic salt 1 teaspoon ground ginger and 3 teaspoons white pepper and of course Sander's little secret: 3/4 teaspoon MSG. Tiny Mix in 2 cups all-purpose flour.
binging with babish kfc from stranger things

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binging with babish kfc from stranger things...

Next, we have to tackle the marinade... ...or at least what KFC calls "the marinade": an undisclosed mixture of water, salt, and lots of MSG, which is boiled, and into which the chicken before breading. Speaking of which, here's the man of the hour: the... chicken. An 8-piece cube is essentially a whole decomposed chicken. So that's exactly what we're going to do. I have covered this in previous episodes. If you want to see how to shred a chicken click the link in the top right hand corner... Now once you're done you should have 8 pieces plus a spine and wings which we're going to hang on to .
binging with babish kfc from stranger things
For later. KFC fries its chicken in a proprietary blend of oils. So, I'll just use my two favorites: Canola and Peanut. So, now, it's time to start dipping our chicken in various substances. First, in the "marinade" for 7 seconds. Take it out, shake it 7 times, take it to the breading, dump it without caution or foresight, and make sure each piece is evenly and deeply covered in the dredge. At this point, KFC shakes the chicken 7 times to remove excess flour. But I'll shake it out a bit and pour it into some 375 degree Fahrenheit oil, where we'll let it cool down relatively undisturbed. but flip it after about 6 minutes, and fry for a total of about 10 minutes until the outside is golden brown and crisp.
binging with babish kfc from stranger things
So, we have brought out our first drumsticks. Let's see how it compares to some real KFC. (The KFC is on the left) Inspecting their ingredient list one more time, I saw that they used powdered dried egg whites, which gives them a rougher, better-developed crust, but the flavors are pretty much on point. So, we're going to supplement with an egg wash and buttermilk. This time, straight from the "marinade," into the flour mixture, then into the buttermilk-egg mixture, and back into the flour mixture, making something that's more like extra crispy chicken than the original recipe. . So, I may not have hit the nail on the head, but I'm pretty happy with the way this crust looks.
But, let's see how it tastes... and... it tastes amazing. For super quick and easy fried chicken, this isn't a bad way to do it, but it's missing a lot of the flavors I look for in my fried chicken, most notably: my salt and buttermilk way. Also, these fried chicken cubes look absolutely ridiculous with no sides. So, let's make some cookies the way I imagine KFC makes them, which is to say, frozen. The ingredient list on these Pillsbury Grands!™ is nearly identical to KFC's. Likewise, I'm sure powdered mashed potatoes and powdered gravy will do just fine. But we're going to enhance our sauce the same way the Colonel does: by adding what's called "crunch," or as I call it, "Brown, Sloppy Gold." The residue that collects in the bottom of the pot after frying adds tremendous depth of flavor to the sauce, and I just...just can't recommend it highly enough.
So now that we have our fried chicken, our reconstituted potatoes, our improved gravy, and our biscuits out of the oven. Finally, we have a facsimile of what was being consumed on the screen. Let's put our chicken center stage here and if you ask me, it looks and tastes good. I really enjoy KFC, I think it's a master class in fast food. But obviously everything here has room for improvement. Biscuits made with butter, mashed potatoes made with... mashed potatoes, and the chicken, which could really benefit from a nightly bath in buttermilk. So, excuse my casual attire while I tear another chicken into 8 pieces, because it's late at night and I'm preparing them for the bedtime brine.
In a large food-safe bucket, 16 ounces of buttermilk is placed along with the aforementioned 12 herbs and spices, along with an extra tablespoon of kosher salt, whisked in small amounts, and shortly our chunks of chicken, which we really want to push there. --give them a good mix-- and make sure they're evenly coated with the buttermilk brine. This guy then goes in the fridge for at least 6 hours and up to 24. He takes it out once or twice during the marinating time to give it a good oomph. Then, while the chicken is marinating, we are going to make an optional broth.
In a large saucepan, I am deep browning our chicken wings and spine pieces in a little vegetable oil over high heat, adding a few

things

like: a whole onion cut in half, a handful of carrots, a handful of celery, a bunch of fresh thyme and a head of garlic cut in half. Once the chicken is a nice brown color, we're going to deglaze the pot with 8 cups of cold water, bring everything to a simmer, turn the heat down to just a simmer, and keep it there for about 4 hours until we have a Deeply. Seasoned. Golden. Chicken broth, which will be perfect for making a little sauce.
In a smaller saucepan, we're melting: 6 tablespoons butter until foamy, adding 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, whisking and cooking an additional minute before slowly pouring into our chicken broth; whisking constantly to avoid clumping, and adding about 3 cups along with a good amount of soy sauce for flavor and color. Then we'll bring it to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until it gets nice and thick and... like a sauce. As always, taste to season, then cover it and reserve it, taking care not to touch the handles HOT, HOT, because we have other little

things

to do, among which the puree stands out. 4 pounds of Russetts are shucked, cut into 1-inch cubes, and placed in a pot of cold water.
So, we're taking this pot to the stove, where, as you may have guessed, we're boiling the whole thing down. Once it reaches the boiling point, we are cooking for 12-16 minutes until the potatoes are well cooked. We are, then, draining, reserving the empty pot, rinsing the potatoes with hot tap water, and then we begin to brown them, that is to say: placing a few pieces of potato in a potato mill and pressing, creating this beautiful potato-spaghetti effect. . Then, to our spaghetti with potatoes, we are adding: 1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces and 2 cups of warm milk, and a little kosher salt and I go with white pepper to maintain the color of the potatoes.
We're using a lot of milk here, but KFC's mashed potatoes are pretty thin, so I want to recreate that consistency. As always, taste the seasoning and set aside, because we move on to my favorite part of the day: the buttermilk biscuits. Thanks to a recipe courtesy of "America's Test Kitchen," we're weighing in: 13 1/2 oz. all purpose flour 2 tablespoons sugar 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. This is tiny beating until homogeneous. And then, we begin the somewhat laborious, but totally worthwhile act of grating 2 sticks of frozen butter using the slightly larger holes on a cheese grater.
Unlike chopping butter in...say...a food processor, this makes nice, long, thin strands of butter that will be perfect for layering. We're just going to add the butter to the flour mixture, mix well, making sure all the pieces are coated, carefully measure out 1 1/4 cups of the buttermilk, add it to the mixture, and give it a good shake. Nothing too crazy. It won't gather into a ball; We just want to hydrate as much flour as possible before turning it into a generously floured countertop, where we'll continue to try to bring it together into sort of a rectangle, which, using a generously floured rolling pin, we're going to roll out as best as we can.
Every instinct will tell you that this dough is too dry, but DO NOT ADD LIQUID OF ANY KIND! Simply roll it out into a 16-by-9-inch rectangle and fold it into thirds like a letter, preferably with a bench scraper, like this one, which helps a lot in the forming process: Roll it out, once again, into a 16-by-9 rectangle and fold in thirds, repeating the process 5 times, effectively making something more like quick puff pastry than cookie dough. But, as you can imagine, all those little bits of butter melt, flatten, and layer. And, as you can see, our dough is starting to become more and more cohesive.
Once we've completed 5 rolls, fluvs, and turns, we place the dough on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up. Once it's completely cooled, we'll turn it out onto a floured work surface, roll it out into a roughly 9 by 9(?) square shape, and then using a very sharp knife that we've dusted with flour, we'll start cutting. the edges. Be sure to make nice, clean downward cuts - no wiggling, no sawing, no back and forth, all of which will inhibit cookie rising. And then once we've trimmed the edges, we're cutting cleanly into 9 cookie squares.
Then, we place back on the parchment lined baking sheet and brush with butter. By now, you're probably wondering, "What about square cookies?" Well, cutting them into squares reduces clipping, and the clipping never really rises quite the same when you reroll it. Anyway, these guys go in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes until they're beautiful. They should cool on a rack for about 10 minutes before eating, but you're going to have a hard time waiting, because look at those layers. These make Pillsbury Grands!™ look like Pillsbury... Casio... Keyboard. Like in Grand Piano uh...versus...ANYWAY! Finally, we come back to the chicken, and we're making a dredge exactly the same way we did the first batch, because I liked how it looked, I liked how it tasted, I liked how it behaved.
But, to help make it crispier, we're adding about 1/2 cup of cornstarch, beating very little, and taking the chicken out of the fridge, where it's waiting. J. Kenji López-Alt has a great trick where he adds a few tablespoons of marinade to the dredge, mixing it with his fingers (or a fork), creating little bits of breading that will stick to his chicken and make it stick. Even. More. Crunchier. Similarly, Sean Brock has a trick where he breads all of his chicken at once. So I'm using a nice wide saucepan here. Basically, this just helps hydrate the dredge further, so you get more of a crunch and crunch in your final product.
Once everyone is on their bed of flour, we'll let them get to know each other for about 10 minutes. Then we'll walk back in front of the camera and notice some idiocy on our apron here. (That's not good). Then we're going to walk back to the chamber and retrieve our chicken, which is finally ready to fry. In the same mixture of oils, (at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, this time) fry for 6 to 9 minutes until golden and crisp, place on a wire rack and keep in the low oven until all the chicken has finished cooking. fry. : Dark meat checks in at 175 and white meat checks in at 165.
Then, once they're all good and fried, we scoop out the Brown, Sloppy Gold™ from the bottom of the pot and add it to our sauce. And now, it's time to introduce the PERFECT meal for both the 4th of July and the return of "Stranger Things": buttermilk fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, and flaky buttermilk biscuits. I also like to hit the chicken with a final pinch of kosher salt before preparing a dish for myself. Let me go ahead and answer your most burning question and tell you that I am a drumstick guy, but I would happily eat any piece of chicken on this table. it's juicy it's crunchy it's flavorful It's the best fried chicken I've ever had and I'll be back for seconds.
BABISH: Hello friends, as I mentioned earlier, mynew cookbook: "Binging with Babish", the companion cookbook is available to pre-order now. Launching October 22, it features the first 100 recipes from my show, beautiful photography, funny stories, and inside glimpses into my weird and wild world of food recreation. And, if you pre-order the book, you'll get access to special blooper photos, sneak peeks, and an exclusive recipe. Head over to... ...to reserve your copy today.

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