Thursday, March 16, 2006

Shicken is on our family crest

Because everyone always thinks their mother made it better than them I'm giving a combination of all my relative's methods for making fried chicken. Notice I didn't say recipe because it's more of a method than anything else.

One whole chicken washed and trimmed of the heavy pieces of fat cut into pieces.
Soak pieces in salted water for about an hour until the chicken comes to close to room temperature.
About a 10 to 12 inch pan with lid. Iron skillet or anything else but non-stick. I use a old Farberware skillet that I've had for more than 25 years.
Heat Crisco in pan, about half inch. When all the chicken is in the pan it should only come up a third of the way. Don't drown the poor bird in grease. You can add Crisco if you do it slowly. You don't want to "cool" the pan down too quickly.

Put about a cup of flour in a plastic bag or paper sack. I don't season the flour. Shake the excess water from the chicken pieces and toss in the bag with flour to coat. Only do a few at a time and start with the largest pieces. Lay them carefully into the hot Crisco. The Crisco should be hot enough to bubble/sizzle the chicken but not smoking. When all are in I salt and pepper the top side of the chicken.

You are looking to brown the chicken in this first step so keep the oil hot. When one side is golden brown the top of the chicken will start to sweat. Dust a bit of the flour on the pieces before you turn them over, then salt and pepper the browned side. Keep the pan hot until the second side starts to brown, then turn the heat down to med low and cover the chicken with a lid. It shouldn't be a tight fitting lid, let a bit of steam escape. The chicken should bubble but not burn on the bottom. It must be watched carefully.

This is the cooking part. Take the lid off from time to time and move the pieces around especially the legs so they get an even cooking. If everything is getting too dark, turn down the heat. I'm always adjusting the fire under the chicken.

When the juices are clear, no blood, maybe about twenty minutes, take the lid off, turn up the heat to do a final browning/crisping and as the pieces are done, remove them to a plate with paper towels. Do not crowd the pieces.

If you want to make milk gravy, pour off all but about two tablespoons of grease and add two tablespoons of flour. Make a roux and cook this for a minute or two scrapping the bottom of the pan to get the "crispies." Add milk and or chicken broth to the make a gravy, maybe one cup or so. Cook until bubbly and thick. You can serve this over the mashed potatoes you've already made.

Now my grandmother, Pruce, loved the boney pieces and she always fried the neck for herself. She'd share the livers and gizzards but the neck was hers. Now skin on the neck gets so crispy and tasty that it is hard to resist so throw caution and your diet to the wind and try it.

Liver Warning. If you cook the liver be careful because it will explode. It is full of blood and will expand in the hot oil. I've many times finished the chicken with an icecube on a hot oil burn. If you poke, poke, poke the liver it will not explode, hopefully.

1 comment:

doodles said...

I'm not gonna do this........I;ve tried really I have. It is technique and woulda take this technique with ya to Ft wayne and make it while we be visiting the relatives...........please!!!