Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fried Chicken

I was afraid to make my own fried chicken.  I wasn't sure if I could do it.  A few years ago, I finally made the attempt, and it turned out great!  Since then, whenever I make fried chicken I also get the urge to make buttermilk biscuits and green beans cooked in bacon and it becomes a regular southern dinner.
It's not as labor intensive as you think once you know what you are doing. In fact, aside from the chicken soaking in buttermilk, I was able to make the chicken and the biscuits from scratch in under one hour.

Fried Chicken

2 c. + 6 Tbsp. buttermilk, divided
2 Tbsp. salt
1 chicken, cut up or 8 chicken pieces
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. paprika
3/4 dried thyme
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4-5 cups vegetable shortening or peanut oil

1.  Whisk together 2 c. buttermilk and salt in a large bowl.  Add chicken pieces and stir to coat.  Cover bowl and refrigerate 1-1/2 hrs. (Don't do it any longer or the chicken will be REALLY salty.)
2.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and spices together in a large bowl.  Add 6 Tbsp. buttermilk and stir.   Use hands to crumble together until evenly incorporated. 
3.  Two at a time, drop chicken pieces into the flour mixture, turning to coat.  Gently press flour mixture onto chicken.  Shake off excess.  Transfer to wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet.
4.  Heat oil in heavy skillet or dutch oven until it reaches 375 degrees.  Place chicken pieces, skin side down, in oil.  Cover and fry 8 to 10 minutes, checking halfway for even browning, rearranging pieces if necessary.)
5. Turn chicken and fry, uncovered, on the other side for 6-8 minutes.  (Adjust burner if necessary to try to maintain an oil temperature of 315 to avoid over-browning.)
6.  Use tongs to transfer cooked chicken to a plate lined with paper towels.  Let drain a few minutes before serving.

Note:  If you have large chicken pieces or your skillet isn't very wide, I recommend cooking the chicken in 2 batches.  If you have too many pieces in there the breading will stick together and come off when you take it out of the oil, and the chicken won't cook through as well. 

Source:  Cook's Country

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