It is a Roman Jewish tradition to eat fried chicken for Chanucah. In fact, during Chanucah, Roman Jews eat anything fried in order to remember the miracle of the oil in the Temple.
The classic version of this dish does not have garlic or rosemary, but I like to add both as I think they go well with the chicken. In the marinade they release a strong and distinctive Italian aroma, which I love. I also found a couple of recipes which use a teaspoon of either cinnamon and/or nutmeg in the marinade. These give a gentle sweet taste to the chicken, which is lovely, so try both versions and see which one you prefer. You can also add all of the extra ingredients and you’ll have a rich, full-flavoured Chanucah fried chicken.
I like to use chicken pieces on the bone, but you can use boneless thighs or breasts instead. If using those, the cooking time is halved.
You can prepare this dish in advance and re-heat it in the oven, but you’ll lose a bit of the crispiness of the chicken. Happy Chanucah!
Cooking time: 30 minutes, plus 2 hours to marinate. Serves 4-6 as main course.
1 small chicken approx 1kg or 6-8 serving pieces of chicken
2 crushed cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil to marinate, plus 1 litre olive oil to fry
1 freshly squeezed lemon
Small bunch of fresh rosemary
5-6 tbs of white flour
2 free range eggs
5-6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper
Clean the chicken by removing its fat, rinse it, pat it dry and cut it if necessary into serving pieces.
Place the chicken pieces in a shallow bowl. Add the salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and the three tbsps of olive oil. Coat well, cover and put in the fridge to marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, fill a pan with olive oil and heat the oil until very hot. Whist the oil is heating, gently beat the eggs in a bowl.
Take a separate bowl and pour in the flour. Pat dry each chicken piece with kitchen paper and coat the chicken first with the flour and then dip it in the eggs.
TIP: It’s important to dry the chicken pieces well with some kitchen paper before coating them with flour and eggs, otherwise the flour will turn soggy and the coat will not be crispy.
Place the chicken pieces in the frying pan with the hot oil. The heat should initially be high for a couple of minutes, and then turned down to medium-low. Leave to cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until each piece turns golden but not brown on all sides.
Once cooked, carefully drain the chicken with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate covered with kitchen towel in order to absorb the extra oil.
Serve hot with lemon slices on the side.