Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Country Fried Chicken


I love a really good, crispy piece of fried chicken. 

That crunch, and then the juicy, plump, seasoned meat. Being able to pick it up and eat it with your fingers, it's food manna.

I have a confession though...

I hate, absolutely hate to make fried chicken. 

Yep-I said it and it's out there now. Mainly because I despise making a mess of my stove and the surrounding counters and floor. That's why in the past my poor family only got this dish homemade about 1-2 times a year. Seriously. Oh and of course there's the "fry" factor also, I just don't fry anything hardly anymore.

But, this time I think I did it right, because there really was minimal mess! 

And the chicken had a beautiful color and crunch and really was probably the best fried chicken I've ever made. 


Fried chicken evokes many emotions and memories for me. My paternal grandmother was from the South and she made awesome fried chicken, but as a child what I loved even more was the leftover gravy she served me the next morning over toast. It's one of my first really good food memories. 

So in my mind, I have always had a pretty high standard set when it came to fried chicken and the resulting gravy. And...I think I may have finally met it!

This chicken is soaked in a spicy buttermilk, shaken in a paper bag with a flour/cornstarch mixture and then fried in shortening before baking in a low oven. Awesome, really awesome.

Use a whole cut up chicken, or like me, a package of chicken thighs. (It's what I had-and they were the best!) I fried them in a heavy cast iron pan, it was perfect, and only used about 1/4" depth of hot shortening, so these weren't deep fried, but they were crispy and crunchy none the less.


Give this one a try, I think you'll make it 4-6 times a year, or more!


Oh, and be sure and make the gravy to serve over those buttery mashed potatoes!




Ingredients:

2 cups buttermilk
2 tbsn hot pepper sauce
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2-3 pounds meaty chicken pieces, rinsed and patted dry (I used all thighs)
2 cups  All Purpose Flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
 Vegetable shortening for frying


Directions:

Whisk together buttermilk, hot pepper sauce and salt a pepper in shallow baking dish. Add chicken pieces. Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
Stir together flour, cornstarch, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne onion powder, salt and black pepper in a large re sealable plastic bag or paper bag. Toss chicken pieces in seasoned flour, a few at a time, until well coated. Place on a rack over a baking sheet and refrigerate while the shortening is heated.
Preheat oven to 325F.
Melt enough shortening to create a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in large heavy skillet. Heat to 350ºF. Add chicken pieces in a single layer, skin side down. Fry about 6-8minutes. Turn over. Fry the other side about 6-7 minutes. 
Remove chicken from oil (it is NOT cooked completely at this point) and place on a rack over a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and chicken is no longer pink in the center. 

To make the gravy:
Remove all but 4 tbsp of drippings in the skillet. Heat over medium heat and whisk in 4 tbsp of flour. Whisk and cook for 2-3 minutes. Slowly pour in 2 cups of milk and whisk until thickened to desired consistency (if too thick, you can thin by adding a little more water or milk). Season to taste with salt and pepper. 


Enjoy! 







 This recipe is shared on My Link Parties. Also shared on http://www.leanlena.com,  http:// www.thecountrycook.net and http://www.bunsinmyoven.com/ and http://www.foodiefriendsfridaydailydish.com