Friday, July 6, 2012

June 6th – National Fried Chicken Day

Since today is National Fried Chicken Day and whole chickens are on sale for 99 cents at Fareways, I’m sharing my fried chicken recipe. You can save money if you cut up your own chicken.  I shared this before on my blog, but will share it again for anyone that missed it.

Friday is my grocery shopping day with my mother.  I begin by looking in Fareway's weekly ad and putting together my shopping list.  I try hard to stick to it.  It is a very short list today because I don't have a grandson this weekend, just granddogs.  You'll find you save a great deal more money if you write up a list and watch ads for you meal planning and don't forget to clip those coupons.

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 in our household.  We might get something else on Easter Sunday or if a holiday landed on Sunday. This was and still is not only tradition for some of my family, but for many, many families in the Mid West and US. National Fried Chicken Day should have been on a Sunday.

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 (8 kids), Mom would pan fry the chicken first and then put it in the oven to finish.  It was always served with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of some kind.

I love fried chicken.  My son’s believe my sister Tony made the best fried chicken they have ever had.  I must admit it was awfully good.  She said her secret was her electric frying pan where she fries it crisp and then she finishes it off  by reducing the heat to 250 degrees in the electric pan.  I don’t think she seasons it with anything except salt and pepper.  She did not spare the salt and pepper though.  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 oven fried chicken.  What is your secret?

Oven Fried Chicken

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 or electric fry pan 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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