My mum's friend Lee boasted a lot about his secret fried chicken. Get on with it! we all cried. With the cook in his turban, earrings, black scarf and cowboy boots, duding around a Dorset country kitchen, it was an odd combo meal in the making, but I ain't tasted any fricken chicken like it.
Rinse the chicken, then pat it dry with kitchen paper. Leaving the skin on the chicken pieces, cut the legs in 2 at the joint between the thigh and the leg, and cut the breasts at a diagonal angle into 2, cutting the wing from the breast so that there is a good lollipop-sized mouthful attached to the bone.
To make the coating, tip into a large, strong polythene bag the flour, all the herbs, the cayenne and the white pepper. Pinch in the salt so that it crumbles to a fineness. Shake together well. Beat together the evaporated milk and eggs in a bowl and sit it next to the seasoned flour bag.
Almost half-fill a large, wide pan (a sautÃ© or deep frying pan is ideal) with the oil and heat to 180Cº/350ºF. Use a kitchen thermometer to keep a close eye on the temperature. Take each piece of chicken and thoroughly turn it in the egg bath before dropping it into the bag. Twist the top of the bag closed, trapping in air so that it resembles a balloon. Shake the chicken pieces around vigorously until well coated. Lift the pieces out with some tongs and carefully lower them into the oil. After adding the chicken, the oil temperature will drop. From here the heat wants to sit at a healthy but not raging simmer. â€˜Keep them bubbles poppin, baby as Lee would say. This is so that by the time the chicken is crisp and coloured it is also completely cooked inside. Frying the chicken should be taken seriously for safety as well as delicious reasons.
Cook the chicken for about 20 minutes, flipping it regularly, until it is a rich golden brown and cooked through. Turn off the oil and immediately remove the chicken to kitchen paper. This is where the brown bag would have come in (hence the recipes name), but unlike the US brown grocery bags our tiny brown-paper market bags are not as useful for degreasing chicken when it is popped inside. Serve hot with ketchup, mayonnaise or barbecue sauce and French fries
GUINEA FOWL: This recipe also works well with guinea fowl. Get the butcher to portion the guinea fowl for you, then follow the same method.