Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
When spring time starts rolling around again, thoughts turn to love. When summer time starts rolling around again, thoughts turn to fried chicken and all the picnic foods that will compliment that wonderful fried chicken. I have some great recipes that will be a delicious addition to your picnics and knock the socks off everyone.
These recipes just may make you the most popular person in your circle of family and friends. Hang on to your chef's hat and grab your tongs, for we are going to cook up a storm here. The key word in that sentence is "tongs". Always use tongs to turn your chicken as it is frying -- to pierce the chicken pieces with a fork will allow all the juices to escape and your chicken will be dry.
Another tip is to try soaking your washed and dried chicken in a brine overnight to make it more juicy and tender. Using buttermilk in place of the brine works just as well and gives the chicken an excellent flavor.
Each recipe is for one cut-up chicken. To cook more than that, increase coating mix and shortening or oil to accommodate.
From my 'Folk's Down Home Recipe Box', here come the recipes I love.
My Grandfather's Basic Fried Chicken
1 fryer chicken cut into pieces (cut the breast in half so it will cook more evenly)
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups flour
* Crisco (shortening, not oil) enough for about an inch in the pan when melted
Use a large cast iron skillet
Wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Place flour, salt and pepper in a bag (Grandpa used a brown bag). Add chicken pieces a few at a time, close top of bag, gently shake till chicken is coated.
While coating chicken, heat the pan on medium and add Crisco when pan is hot, not too hot, you do not want it smoking. When shortening is melted and about 360 degrees, turn heat down just a little. Using tongs, add one chicken piece at a time to hot shortening. Do not crowd the pan. You want each chicken piece to get crispy, if they are crowded, steam will form and chicken will not crisp up.
Turn chicken pieces often with tongs while frying so they cook evenly. Do not cover pan with lid. Cook chicken for about 35 minutes. When chicken is done, drain on a rack placed in a cookie sheet or on a brown paper bag.
For those who like spicy chicken, add about a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the coating mix, more or less to taste. You can vary the taste by adding rosemary, garlic powder, or thyme to the coating mix.
My Grandfather and Father loved buttermilk and sometimes used it to marinate chicken pieces in.
Oven Fried Buttermilk Chicken
1 chicken, cut up (remember to cut breast in half)
4 cups buttermilk
1 cup water
2 cups flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Place the chicken pieces in a lasagna pan (glass is best). Pour the buttermilk over chicken, making sure each piece is coated, and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a cast iron skillet and add oil to it. Taking one piece of chicken at a time, using tongs, coat in the flour and place in skillet when oil is hot. Saute all pieces till golden brown the place them in a deep oven pan. Add the water and bake chicken till done, about 40 - 45 minutes.
This next recipe is my favorite, and easiest, recipe for chicken and everyone loves it.
Oven Fried Rosemary Drumsticks
1 dozen chicken drumsticks
2 cups corn flake crumbs
2 Tablespoons rosemary (dried)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Wash drumsticks and shake off excess water. Place a few pieces in bag and shake to coat. Place drumsticks (alternate directions) on lightly greased cookie sheet. Do not crowd them -- each piece should be separate.
Bake at 350 degrees, turning half way through cooking time, till done, about 45 minutes. Place on rack or brown paper bag to cool, or serve hot. These drumsticks taste better when cold, so they are perfect for picnics.
Oh my gosh, this next recipe is so good and easy.
Sweet Oven Fried Chicken
1 cut up chicken
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn flake crumbs
Wash chicken pieces and shake off excess water. Place brown sugar and corn flake crumbs in bag. Add a few pieces of chicken at a time, shake to coat thoroughly. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet, pieces not touching.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning with tongs halfway through cooking.
All these recipes are good to take on picnics. Make sure to drain chicken on rack or brown paper bag till cool. Line refrigerator shelf with wax paper and place chicken pieces,not touching, on wax paper, cover with wax paper and refrigerate overnight. If chicken is stacked or put in a container when not cold, all of it will lose the crispiness.
Enjoy your picnic and your chicken. Make sure to keep the chicken cold in a large cooler till you get to the picnic spot. Then line a big basket with red and white napkins and pile in the cold chicken. Watch it disappear fast!
* I have not received any compensation or free products from Crisco for using their name. I have just always used Crisco shortening for fried chicken, as my mother did. My Grandfather actually used lard.