Friday, September 21, 2018

Southern Fried Chicken at Revival, Minneapolis

Don’t think for a minute that that fried chicken has to be made in the south to be any good. I live for fried chicken; it’s one of my favorite meals.

We just can’t stop obsessing about the crispy yet moist, Southern-fried chicken that Chef Thomas Boemer made at Revival, 4257 Nicollet Ave, in Minneapolis. Revival Minneapolis is open every day from 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM.

After downing a half of a chicken, mashed potatoes and white gravy with bacon, beer battered cheese curds with honey, cajun seasoning, and buttermilk dressing and cheddar drop biscuits followed by two varieties of pies – the banana cream and the peach snicker doodle - we’re giving this meal a ten for the best fried chicken we’ve eaten in Minnesota…sorry Grandma!
Chef Thomas Boemer (who I met when I was in Minnesota) and Nick Rancone also own Corner Table, which works with small farms and uses extraordinary and unusual ingredients and will soon open In Bloom, a restaurant in the Schmidt Brewery’s Keg and Case Development at West 7th Street in St. Paul. At In Bloom, everything will be cooked over fire, smoking meats at the restaurant’s main attraction, a 20 foot hearth. Their St. Paul Revival location also serves BBQ, including one of my favorites, burnt ends.
I’ll try to recreate Revival’s delicious fried chicken recipe but in the mean time, don’t deprive yourself. The recipe below, from Big Jones, a magnificent Southern restaurant in the Andersonville district of Chicago, weighs in a very close second. It was my favorite fried chicken recipe since Big Jones opened in April, 2008…that is until today.
Buen Provecho!
Southern Fried Chicken

1 cup kosher salt
4 quart cold water
2 ½ pound chicken cut into pieces and brined for 12 hours
1 quart buttermilk
1 pound leaf lard
One stick of butter, unsalted
1/2 cup country-ham with hock
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
Salt and Fresh ground pepper to taste

To make a brine, mix 1 cup kosher salt into 4 quart cold water until dissolved. Make enough brine to cover the chicken and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Drain the brined chicken. Rinse the bowl and return the chicken to bowl.
Pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours.
Drain chicken and toss out the buttermilk. Place on a rack.
Put lard, butter, and ham with hock into a cast iron frying pan. Cook over low heat until the butter does not give off any foam and the ham is browned; about 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the fat.
Heat the fat to 350°F.
Blend together flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

Dredge chicken in the flour mixture and then shake to remove the excess flour.
Put chicken skin side down in a heated cast iron fry pan with the fat. Fry in batches. Cook until the chicken is beautifully browned and cooked through until it’s done. The internal temperature should be 165 °F. Drain again on a wire rack and serve.
Note on Leaf Lard: Leaf lard is the highest grade of various types of lard. Leaf lard comes from the visceral, or soft, fat from around the kidneys and loin of the pig. As such, it has a very soft, super spreadable consistency at room temperature. Seek out a specialty butcher to get the fat for the leaf lard; it’s easy to make once to get it.