Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sunday Fried Chicken

Since tomorrow is Sunday, I thought I'd share this to help you prepare for Sunday dinner.  A Mid West tradition growing up here in Iowa farm country has been chicken for Sunday dinner.  It was rare that it was not chicken.  We might get something else on Easter Sunday or if a holiday landed on Sunday. This was and still is not only tradition for my family, but for many, many families in the Mid West. 

I have broken from the tradition, but still remember it as a very fond memory.  Out of necessity because of the size of our family, Mom would pan fry the chicken first and then put it in the oven to finish.  It would be served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of some kind. 

I love fried chicken.  My son’s believe my sister Tony makes the best fried chicken they have ever had.  I must admit it is awfully good.  She says her secret is her electric frying pan where she fries it crisp and then she finishes it off on low heat of 250 degrees.  I don’t think she seasons it with anything except salt and pepper.  Sometimes simple is best, but it must have a crispy skin on it. 

Robert Browning said “If you get simple beauty and naught else, you get about the best thing God invents.”  I truly believe this and keep my life very simple because of that believe.  I try to do the same in my cooking also, but it really comes down to a matter of taste and what you were raised on.  This is how I make Sunday oven fried chicken.  What is your secret?

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover the chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.  My mother and sister do not do this but I think it makes the chicken moister.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine some flour, kosher salt, and pepper in a large plastic baggie. Dust the chicken with the flour mixture.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees.  I’ve seen some recipes that fry it very hot, but that is not necessary unless you are in a great hurry.  You want to fry it until it has a nice crispy crust on all sides.

Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 5 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown and crispy. Do not crowd the pieces. Remove the first batch of chicken from the oil and let the oil drain off. Allow the oil to return to 350 degrees before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Dark meat takes longer than white so the time will depend on if you are using all of the chicken or just dark or light.

This is very close to how my mother made it except the buttermilk.  You may season your flour with more seasoning, but  as I said, I like it simple.  Some recipes call for paprika, hot sauce, garlic powder, or Cheyenne pepper.  Some people use Panko bread crumbs or Italian bread crumbs for the breading.  Some coat with flour, then egg and then flour again.  That will give you a thicker crust if you like it really crusty.  It is fun to experiment sometimes or just to change up for something a little different.  It is ok to play with your food in this case. 

Be happy and may God bless you and yours.

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