In 1971, with KFC now out of his control, Colonel Harland Sanders was approached by the company's new owners, the Heublein Company, with a recipe for a crispier version of the famous fried chicken. The marketing department decided they wanted to call the product "Colonel Sander's New Recipe" but the Colonel would have nothing to do with it. The stern and opinionated founder of the company who had publicly criticized the changes to his secret formulas (he called the revised mashed potatoes in a newspaper interview "wallpaper paste"), refused to allow the use of his name on the product. Since the Colonel was an important component of the company's marketing plan, KFC appeased him. The new chicken was then appropriately dubbed "Extra Crispy," and sales were finger-licking good. Now you can reproduce the taste and crunchy breaded texture of the real thing with a marinating process similar to that used by the huge fast-food chain, followed by a double-dipped coating. Unlike the Original Recipe chicken clone which is pressure-cooked in oil, this version is simply deep fried.
1 whole frying chicken, cut up
6-8 cups vegetable oil
Marinade 4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon MSG (see Tidbits)
Coating 1 egg beaten
1 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon MSG
1. Trim any excess skin and fat from the chicken pieces. Preheat the oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the water, salt and MSG for the marinade in a large bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and let it sit for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken a couple times as it marinates.
3. Combine the beaten egg and milk in a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, combine the remaining coating ingredients (flour, salt, pepper and MSG).
4. When the chicken has marinated, transfer each piece to paper towels so that excess liquid can drain off. Working with one piece at a time, first coat the chicken with the dry flour mixture, then the egg and milk mixture, and then back into the flour. Be sure that each piece is coated very generously. Stack the chicken on a plate or cookie sheet until each piece has been coated.
5. Drop the chicken, one piece at a time into the hot oil. Fry half of the chicken at a time (4 pieces) for 12-15 minutes, or until it is golden brown. You should be sure to stir the chicken around halfway through the cooking time so that each piece cooks evenly.
6. Remove the chicken to a rack or towels to drain for about 5 minutes before eating.
Serves 3-4 (8 pieces of chicken).
MSG is Monosodium Glutamate, the solid form of a natural amino acid found in many vegetables. It can be found in stores in the spice sections and as the brand name Accent flavor enhancer. MSG is an important component of many KFC items.