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Dish-o-the-Week: From Scratch Fried Chicken

Nothing says I love you like Fried Chicken made from scratch with a side of Buttermilk Biscuits.  Okay, so maybe the actual words “I love you” say I love you, or kisses, or hugs, or selflessly throwing yourself in front of a bus to save someone…but I prefer Fried Chicken…it speaks to my heart.  It makes me weak at the knees.  It screams, “I love you.”

You may be thinking after that introduction that I was trying to woo my true love, Speed Racer, with my feminine wiles of fried chicken makin’.  But you would be wrong! :INSERT GASP HERE: As scandalous thoughts are flowing into your brain, let me put you at ease.  The person I was wooing was none other than….myself.  That’s right!!  I needed a little me time on a Saturday night so I whipped up this dinner while Speed Racer was out with the boys.  It was a night like none other: beer, buttermilk biscuits, girly movies, and you guessed it…fried chicken.

So let’s get down to it.  This recipe is out of The Pioneer Woman Cookbook and I decided to tackle it, and along the way I will give you my words of wisdom.  First words of wisdom: give yourself plenty of times on this one ladies (and gents) until you get the nack of it.  SO, you will need: 2 cut-up fryer chickens (I just used some chicken thighs I had) 1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk, 5 cups all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons seasoned salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup milk, and canola or vegetable oil for frying.

Now here is a very important step that I did not realize at first, you have to soak the chicken in buttermilk OVERNIGHT.  So this is not a quick meal you whip up, you have to be organized and determined, “We are having fried chicken tomorrow night, no matter what!”  But it really does help, just make sure you soak it up to 24 hrs before hand in the fridge.  You may want to let it chill out some when you’re ready to fry.  I just left it out while I got everything else together and started on the biscuits.

You will want to preheat the oven to 350 and start on your breading.  In a very large bowl stir together the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, cayenne, and paprika.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and milk before pouring it into the flour.  With a pastry cutter mix the two mixtures together until their are little lumps throughout.  Lumps are good in this instance.  They make that nice and crunchy breading.

Next, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet on medium-high heat.  Note: a meat thermometer will not help you here, I tried it out for you, it’s a no go.  In the recipe P-dubs suggests heating the oil to 365.  I completely winged it.  When it looked hot, I started.  I know, I’m super technical like that.

Coat each piece of chicken with the breading, make sure you get lots on it.  Then add the chicken to the oil a couple pieces at a time depending on how big your skillet is.  You don’t want them touching because they’ll start to stick together and ruin all your tasty breading.  Cover the pan and fry for 5 to 7 min, then flip sides and fry for 3-5 min more.  Important!  We’re going to finish by baking the fried chicken so you just want the breading a golden brown, not real done or it’ll be burnt at the end.

When it’s done frying place the chicken on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  I had to cook mine for much longer because I kept getting pink juice when I cut into the thicker pieces.  I also had thighs though so they were especially thick.  You may want to monitor your different pieces and take them out of the oven accordingly.

Superb!  I really like the flavors in the breading in this recipe and I think once I got the hang of it, I could do it pretty quickly.  Especially if I had small pieces.  I definitely recommend serving with the biscuits and the beer, if  you’re into that kind of thing.  I had Shiner’s Dortmunder, delicious.  Enjoy!

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