MASTERCHEF Champ Christine Ha Shares her Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe
Christine Ha is not only a MASTERCHEF champion, but also an inspiration to millions. Having been declared legally blind in 2007, she proved that with talent and hardwork, no obstacle is too difficult to overcome. In fact, as she shared when I recently spoke with her, Christine's victory inspired Alexander Weiss to audition for, and eventually win, the first season of MASTERCHEF JR.
In addition to having her own cooking show, FOUR SENSES, Christine released her first cookbook "Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food" last year, and this November, she will be a part of the first ever MASTERCHEF Cruise. For more information on this one of a kind vacation, visit their website.
When I spoke with Christine, she agreed to share some of her favorite recipes with our BroadwayWorld readers. Up first is her Buttermilk Fried Chicken:
One of my favorite things in the world to eat is fried chicken, and when I was growing up in Texas, southern fried chicken was a monthly staple on our family table. I wasn't lucky enough to have a grandma who fried up chicken in a vat of lard. (I was, however, lucky enough to have a grandma who fried up egg rolls instead!) No, my childhood fried chicken experience consisted of Popeye's. As with every other classic American comfort food, I had to learn how to make fried chicken through my own trial and error. When I made it on MasterChef, I used blood oranges, since I like their sweeter flavor, but you could essentially use any oranges or even orange juice. Buttermilk Fried Chicken goes great with Dirty Rice, Haricots Verts with Pancetta Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Fish Sauce Cowboy Corn on the Cob or Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
11/2 cups buttermilk
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken drumsticks Canola oil
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
11/4 cups cornmeal
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
4 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, orange zest and juice, 1 tablespoon of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper to blend. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, rotating the drumsticks to marinate evenly.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 200°F or the lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, and set a wire cooling rack on top. In a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat, heat 11/2 inches of oil to 350°F.
In a large resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Drain the chicken in a colander and discard the marinade. Add the chicken, one piece at a time, to the bag and shake to coat well. Tap off the excess flour mixture and transfer the chicken pieces to a sheet of waxed paper.
Add 4 drumsticks to the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally with tongs, for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to the rack and keep it warm in the oven. Return the oil to 350°F before frying the remaining 4 drumsticks.
THE SECRET TO LIGHT AND CRISPY DEEP-FRYING
When deep-frying, be careful not to overcrowd the pot, as this will lower the oil's temperature, resulting in soggy, greasy food. Lay the finished chicken on wire cooling racks over foil or parchment paper, then place the racks in the oven on low heat to keep the chicken warm while you fry the rest of the pieces.
For more information on the MASTERCHEF Cruise, visit their website. You can also follow Christine on social media: Facebook, Twitter @theblindcook and @ChristineHHa, YouTube, and Instagram @theblindcook.
Recipes reprinted from "Recipes From My Home Kitchen" by Christine Ha. Copyright (c) 2013 by Christine Ha. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.
MASTERCHEF airs Mondays on FOX 8:00pm/7:00pm CT, and remember to check back with BroadwayWorld throughout the week for some of Christine's favorite recipes.