When Grandson requests fried chicken so that his international friend can experience it, what does Grandmother do? You know. of course. Buys whole chickens, cuts them so that there will be Pulley Bones (Some of you call them Wishbones.), gets out the cast iron skillet and gets cookin’.
Last year Bon Appetit , February Issue, printed “the only fried chicken recipe you will ever need.” It’s true. I’m changing it a little to suit my taste, but the method is essentially the best I’ve ever done. Granted, when I made fried chicken often, I never used a recipe, but, you know, one gets “out of practice.”
If your family on a special occasion wants fried chicken, try this one.
THE BEST FRIED CHICKEN EVER
2 T Kosher salt, divided
2 t plus 1 T freshly ground pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t cayenne (optional to me)
1/2 t paprika (optional to me)
1- 3 to 4 lb frying chicken, not Kosher, backbone and wingtips removed. (10 pieces)
(Tip: look for free-range chickens. The hormone enhanced ones have such large breast pieces that it is hard to get them done without getting them too brown.)
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 T cornstarch
3 c all-purpose flour
Oil for frying.
Whisk 1 T salt, 2 t black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic and onion powders in a small bowl. Season chicken pieces with the spices, put in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerator. (A ziplock bag works well for this.)
The next day l
et chicken stand covered at room temperature for 1 hour. Whisk flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 T salt and remaining 1 T black pepper in a 9X13X2 baking dish. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl.
Pour oil into cast iron skillet to a depth of 3/4″. Heat until 350 F. on thermometer.
Set a rack inside a large-rimmed baking sheet for placing the chicken after it has finished frying
Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture. Dredge in flour mixture. Place 5 pieces into skillet. Fry chicken turning with tongs every 1-2 minutes. Maintain a steady temperature of 300-325 degrees F. 10 minutes for wings, and 12 for thighs, legs and breasts. Transfer to rack. Let set for 10 minutes.
During that ten minutes I make the gravy. Be sure to make the gravy in the same cast iron skillet used for frying the chicken. Drain off extra oil leaving enough for making the roux. Use equal parts oil and flour. Stir in flour and heat allowing the flour to a light brown. Add milk gradually and stir constantly to avoid lumps. Salt and pepper to taste.
What to say? This in not something that I cook every week, but once in a while this comfort food just seems to be a must–especially when requested by a Grandson.