Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cajun Fried Chicken and Socca with Vanilla Cognac Syrup












Cajun Fried Chicken and French Chickpea Flour Pancakes!
  
     Fried chicken and waffles has been a trendy item for several years now.  Chicken and waffles is a traditional soul food entree and it can be served for any meal.  I posted a Las Vegas restaurant review of the Hash House A Go Go restaurant's Sage Fried Chicken and Waffles a few months ago.  That was quite a nice plate of food!  It seems like every modern chef has added their own personal touch to the old fried chicken and waffles recipe.  I will probably post a chicken and waffles recipe someday too.
     I gave today's recipe some thought for a few days.  Most fried chicken recipes for breakfast are lightly seasoned with savory herbs.  Many modern chefs use boneless chicken breasts for chicken and waffles.  Boneless chicken is no where near soul food style fried chicken.  Soul food style fried chicken always has the bones and skin attached to the meat.
     For today's recipe, spicy Cajun fried chicken was a good choice.  Boneless chicken breasts are too refined.  Old fashioned traditional fried chicken with the bones attached adds down home character.  Presenting a towering stack of fried chicken gives this entree some eye appeal.  A bamboo skewer can be used to make the tower stable.
     Instead of waffles, socca seemed like a good idea.  Socca are chickpea flour pancakes that originated in Italy.  Unleavened gram flour roti that is like socca are also made in India.  Socca are popular in the French Riviera region.  Socca are usually flavored with onion, rosemary or fine herbs.  Socca is usually served as a bread and it can also baked with focaccia style toppings.  The chickpea flour socca pancakes for this recipe have a nice savory onion and herbs de Provence flavor.
     I thought about making a fruit syrup for this recipe, but vanilla cognac syrup turned out to be a good choice.  Vanilla is used for sweets and it tastes nice in a syrup, but it also is nice with spicy or savory flavors.
  
     Cajun Fried Chicken:
     Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a high sided pot to 360º.
     Cut 1 chicken thigh, 1 chicken wing and 1/2 of a chicken breast for this recipe.  Trim the excess fat off of the chicken pieces.  Leave the skin and bones attached.
     Place 2 1/2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of each of these ingredients:
     - sea salt
     - black pepper
     - paprika
     - marjoram
     - tarragon
     - oregano
     - basil
     - garlic powder
     - onion powder
     Add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Stir the Cajun seasoned flour, till it is blended.
     Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour.
     Dip the floured chicken pieces in a small bowl of milk.
     Dredge the chicken pieces in the Cajun seasoned flour a second time.
     Carefully place each of the chicken pieces into the hot frying oil.
     Fry the chicken, till it becomes a crispy golden brown color and till it becomes fully cooked.  (A probe thermometer should read 165º as a minimum temperature.  )
     Use tongs or a fryer net to place the Cajun fried chicken pieces on a wire screen roasting rack on a pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Keep the Cajun fried chicken warm on a stove top.
  
     Socca:
     Chick pea flour is called gram in India.  Chick pea flour can be found at Indian markets.  Chick pea flour is 100% gluten free.
     Place 1 cup of chickpea flour into a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 4 pinches of herbs du provence.
     Whisk the ingredients together, till they become blended.
     Add 1/4 cup of very thin sliced onion.
     Stir the mixture.
     The batter should be a thin consistency like a thin pancake batter.
     Let the batter stand for 30 minutes.
     Heat a cast iron skillet in a 450º oven.
     Remove the hot skillet from the oven.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of blended  olive oil to the pan.
     Pour enough of the chickpea flour batter into the pan to form a round thin pancake.  (About 2 ounces to 2 1/2 ounces.)
     Place the pan back in the 450º oven.
     Bake the socca, till it is lightly browned on the edges and so it is firm.
     Set the socca pancake aside.
     Repeat these steps to make 3 socca pancakes.
     After the pancakes are done baking, place the pancakes on a baking pan.
     Pass the pancakes under a broiler, to lightly brown the top of the pancakes.
     Brush the pancakes with melted unsalted butter.
     Keep the pancakes warm on a stove top.
  
     Vanilla Cognac Syrup:
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium high heat.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1/3 cup of sugar.
     Boil the sugar liquid, till it reduces to a syrup.
     Cook the sugar, till it starts to turn a ligh amber color.
     Add 1/2 cup of cognac.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Stir as the seized sugar returns to a liquid state.
     Reduce the sugar liquid to a syrup consistency.
     The syrup should be thin and it should be able to lightly glaze the back of a spoon.
  
     Cajun Fried Chicken and Socca with Vanilla Cognac Syrup:
     Cut the socca pancakes into pie shaped pieces.
     Place the socca pieces on a plate, so the slices overlap each other.   Form 4 rows of socca slices, so each row is on opposite sides of the plate and so the wedge shapes point toward the center of the plate.
     Use a bamboo skewer to stack the Cajun fried chicken pieces up on the middle of the plate.  (Insert the skewer through the chicken pieces.)
     Sprinkle some diced roasted red pepper over the socca slices and the plate.
     Spoon the vanilla cognac syrup over the Cajun fried chicken, the socca and the plate.  (Do not flood the plate with the syrup!  A small amount is all that is needed.)
     Sprinkle some thin bias sliced green onions over the socca and plate.
     Garnish the Cajun fried chicken stack with an Italian parsley sprig.
  
     The crispy spicy Cajun spiced fried chicken has a mouth watering flavor.  The savory socca chickpea flour pancakes are not like regular wheat flour pancakes.  They look like they are dense, but they are actually light.  Yum!  ...  Shawna

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