1.21.2009

Fried Chicken

Yesterday was an historic day! I fulfilled my new year’s resolution by successfully making my husband’s favorite food, and didn’t burn down the kitchen - all in one evening! The new fried chicken technique worked!

If you read yesterday’s entry (Is it) An Historic Day, you have some background on the whole fried chicken adventure. Anyway, this was my fourth or fifth attempt in the last year and a half with a few in-edible versions along the way, although they have gotten a little better each time! And the only two “tweaks” for next time are more Old Bay Seasoning and a large cast iron skillet.

When my Handsome Husband (HH) walked in the door last night, he sniffed (and smiled), listened (and sparkled), and looked in the pan saying “Ooohh! Fried Chicken! And it’s golden brown! Wow!!” I have also seemed to master the art of pan gravy – pan drippings, milk and Wondra flour (that’s the key)!

HH said the fried chicken was cooked through, not burned (always a bonus), golden brown, tender and delicious. Believe it or not, all of these virtues have been in question at one time or another during past attempts. He even had seconds!

The skinless chicken breast I cooked for myself turned out pretty well, definitely more edible than previous attempts. Although next time I would pound it out before cooking and not cook as long as the thighs I cooked for HH.

The recipe was “inspired” by the book my cousin sent me, The James River plantations Cookbook – A glimpse into the homes and kitchens of old Virginia. It’s a little soft cover published in 1985, and unlikely you’re going to find it easily, so here’s the recipe with a few lessons learned from past attempts.

Barbara’s Fried Chicken (Holly’s Diner style)
Cut up chicken (whatever pieces you like, with or sans skin)
1 cup flour (I used unbleached and will try whole wheat next time to get away from the white stuff)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste (I used ≈ 1 tsp, and would use 2 tsp to 1 tbsp next time)
Vegetable oil (the recipe calls for Crisco, but I just can’t do that solid-oil-in-a-can thing)

Rinse and dry chicken pieces. Pour oil in pan to that you have about ¼” of oil, and heat. In a paper bag, combine all other ingredients and mix around. Add one piece of chicken at a time to the paper bag, give it a quick and easy shake, remove chicken with tongs and place in pan with heated oil skin side down. Repeat with all chicken pieces. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 35 – 40 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken is not burning. Turn chicken, cook another 20 – 25 minutes checking occasionally. Remove chicken from pan and place on paper towels to drain, cool, rest. Enjoy!

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