Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fried Chicken Forever- Sunday Savoring

Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories. Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart.

Thomas Fuller

Growing up in the '60's meant walking home from church to find mother standing in front of the alter of our home: a four burner white O'Keefe &; Merritt stove. Mom would be dressed as if she was going on a nice date.Mom looked like a movie star then. Her Donna Reed dress played up her hour glass figure. Nylons hugged her legs, practical pump elongated them. Her curly hair was lacquered in place with Aqua Net hairspray. Her face was powdered, her cheeks rouged in the same fire engine red as her lips. Only the apron, crisply pressed and starched,  gave away that she would not be going out.

Over the rings of dancing blue flames, 2 large skillets of hot Crisco oil bubbled with chicken frying.  The thought of how my mother's chicken scented the air makes me nostalgic for a time which really is better in my memory than it was in real life.

Cut up, rinse, then trim a plump fresh chicken of excess fat.
Prepare the brine by combining in a large bowl

1 1/2 cups Buttermilk
1 rounded tsp. Salt
2 good splashes Tabasco Sauce
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Black Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper.

Turn the chicken pieces to individually coat. Cover and soak in the refrigerator 4 hours to overnight.

Prepare the dredging

1- 3/4 cups Biscuit Mix
1/4 cup Rice Flour
1 Tbsp Pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp Old Bay Seasoning.
About an hour before you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400° F .
Heat enough quality oil in a deep skillet to come up more than half way on the fattest chicken piece. When the oil reaches between 350- 375° F - a drop of water instantly sizzles.

While the oil  comes to temp- Pull the chicken pieces through the flour mixture to coat all sides.
Starting with the largest pieces and avoiding crowding the pan, carefully lay the chicken in the hot oil .

 In 3-4 minutes- a crispy crust will form- turn carefully. As each piece becomes encrusted in an amber brown, place on a raised rack set atop a roasting pan. 

Repeat with the rest of chicken pieces. Slide the pan into the oven to finish cooking.  Check in 15 minutes- pull the pieces out as they reach an internal temperature of 160 ° F on an instant read thermometer. As a rule of thumb- 15 minutes for the wings- 20 minutes for the legs and thighs. The breasts might need another 15 -20 minutes- like a bra- it all depends on how buxom the breasts you started with.

The current Cook's Illustrated (Sept.- Oct. 2010) is much like my own- crisping cut up chicken marinated in a buttermilk brine, then finishing in the oven. If you want to know WHY all this works- get a copy.
What we do today should be worthy of a memory. My window is inching towards completion.. By the next Sabbath it should be ready for framing. My husband is experimenting with a technique for his part in our collaboration.

This Sunday- I wish you beautiful sunsets and a life creating memories. May today's gift be future memories  which will be remembered as  past perfect.


Oregon Sue said...

Your Mother's chicken recipe sounds like heaven. I have never added spices to the buttermilk, but that's something to try next time. Thanks!

Additionally your mom sounded like my mom. With pearls yet. Of course the nylon stockings and a dress and apron. The uniform of the 50's mom!

Thanks L for the nostalgic trip. Oh, by the way, I have (sadly it's in the barn) a 1953 O'Keefe & Merritt stove. Since we don't have natural gas here and I didn't want to convert it to propane, it sits. Was the BEST stove I ever had! xo

Lydia said...

Morning Sue!
The most important thing to add to the buttermilk is the salt. The combination of the two makes chicken tangy, tender and juicy. Everything else is just a suggestion):-

My mom was a bead woman. Clip on earrings- the ear jewels reserved for PTA and volunteer duties.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post today! Amazingly I plan to make chicken drenched in buttermilk for dinner tonight. I am doing the recipe that rolls it in corn meal and bake in the oven.
My mom always fried her ckn in a skillet then put it in the oven too. I will try your recipe next.
Would love to see a pic of your mom from those days. I loved Donna Reed and Harriet Nelson. I think I always longed for a family life like theirs. I came pretty close but no pretty dresses and nylons for me while cooking! :)
You glass looks gorgeous! Can't wait to see it in place. Where did you say this will go?

Great post! Have a blessed Sunday!

XO Trisha

Lydia said...

Trisha- Cornmeal is excellent, too! I play around with the coating. The important part is to let the chicken marinate in salted buttermilk.
I think we all wanted to be the Nelson's- except that meant no chance of growing up to marry Ricky):-
The window was designed to fit in my shed's transom. Now that it is going to be framed- Gerry has a bit of construction ahead of him.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

That is a WONDERFUL sounding Recipe...and so well told, too...So many times, a recipe is told in a rather dry manner so you don't get the "feel" of the food....Not so, here with your mother's. It makes me almost want to start cooking again! (lol) The way we all dres is so different now---so much more relaxed and "comfy" to my way of thinking, though sometimes it seems too relaxed, as when going to The Theatre...! Personally, I've never quite understood the torn-jeans look.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh, and I forgot to say, your work of art is BEAUTIFUL, Lydia!

Lydia said...

DOOLH- Thank you!

I agree. When I used to cover city council meetings and wore jeans without holes- the other journalists thought I was "dressed up."

There is a time and place for everything- in public is not the place for torn jeans. It never fails- if I make a fast run in the middle of a project to the nursery or hardware store in grubbies- someone recognizes me and I am humiliated. As I should be.

The look which really bothers me me is the over-sized prison-issue look on anyone older than a toddler. Those I assume the mother is trying to stretch the family clothing budget.