Friday, January 18, 2013

Undercooked chicken, with a side of banana mush

So, chicken maryland (p138) is a weird sort of recipe. It's essentially fried chicken, served with fried bananas and pineapple rings. That's a lot of 'fried', but apparently it's the whole meal.

I've never been that keen on deep frying at home - not really for the unhealthiness of it (because, after all, I still visit the local chippie from time to time) but just because it's a messy, tricky way to cook things, especially if you don't have a proper deep fryer.

Never mind, it had to be done. I half-filled a saucepan with oil, and turned it on to heat. There's no particular temperature given in the recipe - not that it would be much good to me if there was - but it does say not to have the oil too hot, or the chicken will be brown on the outside and undercooked in the middle. Well, I didn't want that to happen. I set the element quite low, and hoped for the best.

While the oil was heating, I prepared the chicken, dusting it in flour, then dipping in beaten egg and coating in breadcrumbs. You use whole chicken legs (which some people, particularly on Aussie cooking shows, seem to call 'marylands'. I guess there's some connection with the name of this recipe). The recipe is for four, but I just did the one.

I got the chicken into the oil, where it bubbled merrily away without browning too quickly. I figured I must have got the temperature about right. While that was cooking, I finished preparing the pineapple rings and bananas.

The bananas were easy enough to flour, egg and crumb in the same way as the chicken, but the pineapple rings, despite being drained, still had too much moisture and turned the flour into a soggy paste. I had to scrape off the paste and dust again. This time it was a bit better, but still slightly soggy.

After ten minutes, I got the chicken out and pierced the fattest parts with a skewer. No blood ran out, so I figured it was cooked. I bunged the bananas and pineapple in, but they didn't seem to be cooking very well, so I turned the heat up a bit. They'd been in the oil for a while before I decided they were golden enough.

I scattered a bit of lettuce on the plate, not because it was in the recipe, but I felt the need for something green. When the worst of the oil had been drained and blotted away, I piled on the chicken, pineapple rings and banana.

The coating on the chicken was pleasantly crunchy, but bland. I looked back at the recipe to see if I'd forgotten the seasoning again, but there's actually no seasoning in the recipe at all. When I cut further into the chicken, I found something worse: it was red and bloody close to the bone. I gingerly ate a few more mouthfuls from the other (thinner, and properly cooked) side of the leg, but unfortunately,  most of it wound up in the bin.

As for the sides, the pineapple slices were passable, but still a bit soggy. The banana was so soft as to be almost mush. Mush that oozes oil. Not nice. I ate one half of the banana, and chucked the rest. I did use a reasonably ripe banana, which might have something to do with it. Mostly, I think the oil wasn't hot enough, which holds true for the undercooked chicken as well.

Oddly enough, I ate all the lettuce. It was actually the nicest thing on the plate!

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