Sunday, October 30, 2011

Crispy Chicken Fried Chicken

Place 4 thin chicken breasts (or tenders) into 2 cups buttermilk.

(If you don't have buttermilk on hand, put 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a bowl (not a metal one!) and add enough milk to make 2 cups.)

To the buttermilk, add 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic.

Let the chicken soak in the buttermilk for a few hours. Overnight is best.

Next, we'll prepare the breading. For a quick and easy breading ingredient, you can use half a loaf of french bread, 2 - 3 cups of Panko Bread Crumbs, both of which will be more crisp, OR you can use basic Progresso Bread Crumbs, which are finer.

So, the breading is:

8 - 12 pieces of bread (regular, french, homemade, whatever you have on hand is fine, broken into crumbs - not pulverized into practically nothing (I use my food processor for this.)
1/2 to 1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 to 1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon parsley

You can place only the bread in the food processor, and blend until crumbled, or you can put everything in together, ensuring that the spices and flour are evenly distributed throughout the breading mixture.

Now it's time to take the chicken out of the buttermilk, one by one, and dredge in the breading, and carefully lay it in a pan with about 1/4 inch of super oil: Crisco, vegetable oil, canola oil, or peanut oil, whichever you have handy/prefer/like to eat. :)

Let it fry for just a minute or two before flipping over. Place them in the oven, either in the pan you fried them in {oven safe, of course!} or place them in a glass casserole dish to bake for about 25 minutes @ 350 degrees.

Now, you can use the pan you fried them in to make gravy. Whisk in butter and flour to make a roux.  Put into a bowl and place in freezer. In the meantime, combine and stir in chicken stock, garlic, onion, parsley, black pepper, and some salt to taste, once simmering/almost boiling, add the roux, slowly, whisking as you go, and there's your gravy! The mashed potatoes are of course easy as pie, so I am not going to tell you step-by-step how to make them. (We use 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, garlic salt, pepper, and about a half stick of butter...) :)

Fresh green beans and a homemade loaf of garlic bread, a french baguette, or just some bread make this a complete, and oh-so-delicious meal and it's really pretty simple. Enjoy!

Taste of Home recipe for Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy

6 Servings 
Prep time: 15 min. + chilling
Cook time: 1 hour 

1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds), cut up
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Oil for frying

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1-1/2 to 2 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken in a large shallow dish.
Pour buttermilk over; cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a large resealable plastic bag.
Drain chicken pieces; add to flour mixture, one at a time, and shake to coat.
Shake off excess; let stand on waxed paper for 15 minutes before frying.
Heat 1/8 to 1/4 in. of oil in a large skillet; fry chicken until browned on all sides.
Cover and simmer, turning occasionally, for 40-45 minutes, or until juices run clear and chicken is tender.
Uncover and cook 5 minutes longer.
Remove chicken; drain on paper towels and keep warm.
Drain all but 1/4 cup drippings from skillet; stir in flour until blended.
Gradually add milk, then 1-1/2 cups water.
Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Add remaining water if needed.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with chicken.
Yield: 6 servings

 {Originally published as Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Gravy in Taste of Home April/May 1994, page 37}