Sunday, March 8, 2009

Confessions of a Southern Belle

I have a confession to make. I have never made fried chicken before. Considering fried chicken is all but it's own food group in the south I am sure this comes as shocking news. My dad was coming to town for an appointment and I really wanted to impress him with a delicious old fashioned lunch (or dinner as it is called here in the south). One of his favorite meals is stewed potatoes with cornbread and fried chicken. I have a ton of buttermilk left over from the Cheesy Sausage and Egg Quiche I made a week ago and figured the fried chicken would be a great way to use it up. My mom who I consider the best cook in the world has never made her fried chicken with buttermilk so I was venturing into unknown territory. Ina Garten came to my rescue. She is one of my very favorite Food Network chef's AND she makes her fried chicken with buttermilk! Now this meal is definitely not for someone who is watching their figure. The stewed potatoes have lots of butter and milk and the fried chicken is well....fried (and lathered in buttermilk to boot). But my advice is to just go for it! Everyone needs to indulge from time to time. So channel your own inner southern belle and make this meal soon!

Fried Chicken
from Ina Garten

1. 2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
2. 1 quart buttermilk
3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
4. 1 tablespoon kosher salt
5. 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
6. Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening

1. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture.

4. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
5. Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces.

6. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch.
7. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

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