Sunday, August 21, 2011

No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of This Perfect Fried Chicken..........Except the Chicken, I Guess....No Animals Other Than the Chicken Were Harmed in the Making of This Perfect Fried Chicken

My Mom was the best cook I ever knew. Her food was the best, not because she used the most expensive ingredients, or followed the recipes the closest, but because she had good food instincts. She was extremely creative, and she wasn't bound by any conventional rules. I have been thinking about her quite a bit lately, and any thoughts about her best cooking always settle on her fried chicken, which was exactly everything fried chicken was ever meant to be.

I have tried many times over the years to replicate her fried chicken, but it always ended in miserable failure.  So, tonight, I tried a few new things to right my chronic chicken wrongs......Man, that should be a song. "Tonight I tried to right my chronic chicken wrongs....Doo Doo Diddly Doo." Someone should write that down....

Fried Chicken is all about the breading. For Mom, it was all about eye balling it, so don't bother measuring anything if you try to make this recipe. I used all purpose flour, salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and garlic powder. Just add the spices to the flour and mix, little by little, until you can taste them.
I pounded out the boneless, skinless chicken breasts (not my favorite protein) so that they would hold the breading better and cook faster. Simply put them between two layers of plastic wrap and beat them violently with something heavy (I used a rolling pin) until they are about 1/2 inch thick all the way around.

Mom always used ice cold water on the chicken and then powdered it with the flour and straight into the oil. I have never been able to do this correctly, and my flour always falls off, so this time, I tried dipping it in milk, and then into the flour. It seemed to work.
Heat a skillet (cast iron works by far the best) with about 1/4 inch of vegetable oil over medium heat.
Slowly lay the chicken into the oil, so you don't shake off the batter. Don't mess with them for at least 5-7 minutes. Flip them just one time, until each side is golden brown. Remove the breasts, and place them on a paper towel to drain.
We paired the chicken with our new summer favorite, grilled corn with sage lime butter, and a simple salad of cucumber slices in italian dressing.

I hope that some of you will try to make this fried chicken, because this is my best and closest attempt at making it like my Mom used to. I apologize if you are the type who needs very specific measurements in a recipe, but that is just not how Mom rolled. It's not how I roll either, as I'm sure you might have gathered if you have read anything on this blog since it started.
I think Mom would be proud of what I've been doing on here, so I'm going to keep doing it for a while. If you enjoy reading this blog, or even better, enjoy cooking or just eating the food you see on here, then give a little thanks to Bridgett, because all the qualities that make my food worth eating came from her.

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