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Emeril's PotLuck

Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of

One of America's most famous chefs, Emeril Lagasse is known worldwide for his enthusiasm and energetic take on cooking. Subtitled Comfort Food with a Kicked-Up Attitude, there is nothing bland or ordinary about the dishes offered in this book but they are, in Emeril's own words, "straightforward, delicious and meant to be shared".

Emeril's PotLuck
The book starts off with tips and recipes for the Basics. These are the essential building blocks to Emeril's comfort food cooking. Continuing with Drinks, Starters, Salads, Soups and Gumbos and Casseroles he then offers a category, Beyond Casseroles. Not wanting to offer only the standard one dish casserole so prevalent at the potluck dinner, he scoured his mind for other options.

His Chicken In A Box recipe is just one mouth watering example of a Beyond Casseroles recipe. This recipe offers the tricks and techniques required to create the perfect fried chicken, without the deep fryer! This foolproof recipe is perfect for making ahead because it even tastes great at room temperature.

The rest of the book covers the Sides, Breads and Desserts categories and even offers a number of website addresses to sites of interest and of course includes a complete list of his restaurants.

The bright accents and bold layout as well as the center photo spread make this cookbook essential reading for anyone who has ever had to bring something to a potluck dinner.

Chicken In A Box

Making good fried chicken is an art. Since many home cooks don't own a deep fryer, which makes the best fried chicken, I fiddled around and finally came up with a foolproof recipe. There are just a few tricks - soak the check in a salty marinade, rest the chicken once it's floured, and keep the oil at a steady temperature. Though many cooks suggest cooking fried chicken at a higher temperature, I find that if I do that the coating burns before the chicken is cooked through. I prefer a lower heat. Buy a clip-on thermometer to control the temperature and you will become a master. And, he makes life easy on yourself and fry up a batch before your party starts, because this chicken is just as good at room temperature as it is hot. I bring it over to friends' houses in a wax paper-lined cardboard box - talk about making folks happy, happy!

  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Emeril's Original Essence
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 head garlic, cloves peeled and crushed
  • Two 3 1/2 to 4 pound chickens, cut into 8 pieces each
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • Peanut oil, for frying

Combine the buttermilk, 1/4 cup Essence, salt sugar and garlic in a large non-reactive bowl. Stir to blend. Immerse the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and for up to 24 hours.

Combine the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup Essence and the cayenne in a large doubled brown paper bag or plastic freezer bag and shake to blend. Drop the chicken, a few pieces at a time, into the flour mixture and shake thoroughly to completely coat. Remove the chicken and shake off the excess flour. Repeat the coating process with the remaining chicken pieces. Place the coated chicken on a large wire rack set over a sheet pan and let rest until ready to fry, at least 20 minutes.

Heat 4 inches of oil to 300 F over medium-high heat in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot. Fry the chicken in batches, skin side down, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Turn and fry until golden brown on the second side, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Remove the chicken and drain on paper towels.

Allow the chicken to rest at least 5 minutes before serving.


An even oil temperature is the key to success; a clip-on candy/deep-fry thermometer should be kept in the pot at all times. And the temperature should remain between 280 F and 300 F at all times.

About the Author:
Chris Sadler is Owner and WebAdmin of The Recipes Database. Become a member to recieve the weekly newsletter alert:
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