Sunday, April 4, 2010

BFF Fried Chicken

We are fortunate enough to have a long list of really wonderful friends in our lives. True friends...the ones that love you (warts and all) and I couldn't be happier to have them, honestly! It is because of these friends that I know life is good for me now and always will be.

I always want to treat these friends with the very best, healthy, and tasty food that I can produce from my kitchen. We Southerners love with our food and I hope that my friends know about the love that went into the fried chicken and green beans that I made for this pot luck. I thought about each person who would be eating the chicken as it fried and I put the love in every time I turned a piece over. Anyone can make fried chicken, the best fried chicken is made almost ritualistically. Here are my rituals as prescribed by the best Fried Chicken Cook - aside from Mama and Grandma - that I know, my BFF, Kelly. Incidentally, Paula Deen and my Mama have confirmed this process of frying and steaming.

Let me make note now to all of you "OMG, FRIED Chicken!? That will clog my arteries!" people: Fried Chicken is comfort food and celebration food. It used to be only Sunday Dinner food because chicken was not so easy to come by. It is soul food. Brought from Scotland to the South by immigrants and perfected by slaves from Africa, it is good food. It is NOT particularly good for you. Neither is Birthday Cake but I doubt anyone who is reading this blog has ever gone too long without a piece of Birthday Cake. Think of Fried Chicken the same way. Making your own fried chicken is rewarding, relaxing, and a sensory experience that shouldn't be missed. You should try it sometime, you might just like it, you will probably even love it.

3 eggs
2 T Hot Sauce (like Tobasco or Franks)
2 C All Purpose Flour
2 lb Chicken - I used boneless, skinless, breasts cut into thick strips
Salt and Pepper
Garlic Powder
Vegetable Oil (enough to come half way up the side of the chicken pieces in the pan)

In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil to 375 degrees. If you don't have a thermometer, use the end of a wooden spoon. If bubbles form around the spoon when you dip it into the oil, you ready to cook!

While the oil is heating you can get your breading station ready. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with 1/3 C water and add the hot sauce. In another shallow bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper, and garlic powder. I would say about 1 t Salt, 1/2 t pepper, and 1/2 T Garlic Powder but you can use more of any if you don't think it is enough.

Roll each piece of chicken in the egg and then into the flour and then into the oil. Cook, covered for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the cover and turn the chicken when the undersides are well browned.
That could be right away if you are doing chicken strips like me. If you are doing a whole bone-in chicken, this would take longer. Cook, covered for another 5 minutes.
Remove the cover and cook until the chicken is well browned. An entire chicken will take 20 to 25 minutes to cook (making sure to put the largest pieces and dark meat into the pan first!)

Place the chicken onto a cloth or, if you insist, paper towel, to drain.

I followed a friend's green bean recipe that can be found here. GIANT Shout out to Amy for the tip on the seasoning. I NEVER had it before and it is delicious.

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