I don't make fried chicken all that often, and when I do it's just the basic recipe - Buttermilk marinade and spicy flour. But recently my girlfriend, who is from the South, made some dismissive snorting noises when I said I made good fried chicken. Like, obviously, since I'm a Yankee, I could never cook something as complicated as fried chicken. Little smart ass.
So I decided to come up with a special fried chicken recipe that would show her what a Yankee can do in the kitchen. (and just for the record, I have no idea what a yankee even is or why that might matter to anything)
A note on ingredients and procedures: I always fry boneless breasts. The following ingredients will work well for about 1-2 pounds of those. Other people like fried chicken with the bones on. If you do it that way you'll probably need more marinade than I list here. Also I assume you know how to fry things. I turn my burner to 8 and fry for 3-5 minutes on one side and then 2-4 minutes on the other. If you have big pieces you'll need to cook them longer. Best to cook a couple test pieces and make sure you have it right. Also - I list "spices" as one of the ingredients. Use most any combination you like here, but I use mostly basil and oregano with a wee bit of rosemary and savory.
- The key is the marinade. A great deal of this will end up sticking to the chicken when you fry it, but it also flavors the chicken and makes it more moist. Place the pecans, 1 tsp salt, the spices, the garlic cloves, half the pepper, the sugar and the buttermilk in a blender. Pulse and blend until the garlic and pecans are chopped up very finely.
- Place the chicken in a nonreactive bowl and pour the buttermilk mix over it. Mix everything so that all the chicken is evenly coated. Place the bowl in the fridge and marinate for at least two hours and up to eight hours or more. Stir thing every once in a while.
- Get the flour coating ready. In a strong plastic food storage bag, or a doubled weak bag, place the flour and the remaining spices. Shake it up a bit to get things evenly mixed.
- Get your fry pan ready by heating enough shortening to reach halfway up your chicken pieces to a good fry temperature. It will be hot enough when a pinch of flour will sizzle a bit when dropped in.
- When you're ready, take a piece of chicken, making sure to coat it with buttermilk as much as you can, and place it in the bag of flour. Shake the bag to get the piece totally caked in flour. Doing this too much is better than not doing it enough. When it's good and caked, take the piece out and put it into the hot oil. Fry one side completely and then fry the other. Don't flip things back and forth. Don't crowd the pieces at all. Give them plenty of room. As each piece is done, drain it on paper towels. Cut open the first piece to make sure you're timing things right. Rinse, repeat.