Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Make mine Grandma Fried!

You know how some foods just take you back? One of those for me is fried chicken. For some reason it has always seemed a scary and slightly dangerous endeavor, one cooking challenge I did not feel up to. That is saying something for me. I am generally intrepid, full of confidence when it comes to preparing food.
And yet, and yet.
Actually I did make fried chicken one time, now that I think about it. I was 12, not yet 13 I know, and had found a recipe that called for a wet batter and deep hot oil. I remember that the chicken turned out just fine but I was disappointed-I thought it would be more like KFC and it was actually like Long John Silver's battered fish fillets. Oh well. I did not have enough experience cooking at that time to make judgment calls based on just reading a recipe. I don't remember what else I fixed that night, probably mashed potatoes and something green but my older sister's boyfriend liked it and that thrilled me to no end.
That one attempt satisfied my desire to cook fried chicken, after all my grandma made it often(and way better) and I could go eat hers anytime-she would make it special if you asked just right. And believe me we asked.
My grandma had a stroke 8 years ago, the day before Maggie was born actually, and hasn't made fried chicken since.
Last night I made fried chicken(for the first time in 'gasp' 25 years) that was almost as good as hers-the only difference being her presence missing from the process. It was crazy good. It was difficult to keep enough back to feed Big Daddy D we liked it so much. I was so amazed and impressed with myself I am sure I was slightly difficult to deal with for several minutes.

Then I looked in the oven at my peach cake and came quickly back to Earth. What a mess! Tasty though.

Grandma Fried Chicken (you know, like Southern fried, only better!)
First melt 2/3 cup or so of solid shortening(I use Crisco though I do know from personal experience that lard is tastier!) in a 10-12" cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
Then get started on:
2 1/2-3 lbs of chicken cut up(I got a pack of legs on sale and that worked just fine)liberally seasoned with salt and pepper
Dip the chicken pieces in:
3 eggs, well beaten
Then coat the chicken well in:
1 1/2 cups of AP flour, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper and if you are feeling frisky some cayenne, sage, onion powder and garlic powder-I am always feeling frisky!
Place the chicken in the hot(around 350degrees)oil and let brown on one side-about 5 minutes or so and turn. TURN THE HEAT DOWN TO MEDIUM LOW. Put the lid on your skillet(surely you have a pot lid that will fit) and continue to steam-fry for about 15-20 more minutes til your meat thermometer tells you the temp is close to perfect( a few degrees shy is better than over cause carry over cooking will finish but you can never uncook it you know) and remove to a clean plate.
Pour off most of the oil(you keep your old cans for that right?) trying to keep most of the crusty bits in the skillet. Return skillet to stove and add 2-3 tablespoons of your seasoned flour or fresh if you threw it out the other stuff already, and stir, cooking the flour for a few seconds til lightly browned. Salt and pepper again and then slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly, until your gravy has reached the desired consistency. No measurements here folks but be ready to use up to 2 cups of milk or combination of milk and water-it just varies depending on how much flour you used, how much oil you left in the pan and -believe it or not- the weather.
Serve the chicken and gravy with biscuits and whatever veggies you like-we had rutabagas last night.
Don't you want the recipe for the Peach Cake? It is so good of course you do. And here is your chance to learn from my mistake too!
First off you need to defrost the 2 cups peaches you put up in the freezer 3 summers ago now. If you didn't happen to crazy that year with 2 bushels of the best damn peaches in years then just use some from the freezer section of your grocery store-don't used canned peaches-please please please don't.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Butter! a 10 inch deep dish pie plate-deep dish I am telling you! Just look at the mess above and learn from my thinking that it wouldn't matter!
Sift together in a medium bowl:
1 1/2 cups naturally white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder(again I use aluminum free cause i worry about it)
1 tsp kosher salt(if you have fine grain salt use just 1/2 tsp)
set aside
In your mixer combine at medium low speed:
6 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
til light and fluffy, then slowly add in at medium speed:
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk-also room temperature
When combined turn mixer to low and then slowly add in the dry ingredients, til just combined.
The batter is thick. Pour into the buttered pie plate and smooth the top.
Layer on the well drained peach slices and sprinkle liberally with more white sugar-up to about 1/4 cup depending on your sweet tooth.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees and then lower temperature to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 50-55 minutes.
Leave it in the pie plate and just scoop out your servings. Delicious eaten warm with whipped cream or ice cream too I would imagine. This keeps unrefrigerated for up to 48 hours though I seriously doubt it will last in any ones house for more than a day.


Nej said...

OK...I laughed, really loud, when I saw the pic of the mess in your oven. Not laughing at it so much, as laughing with you. Because, how can you not look at that picture and giggle. :-) :-)

I've been sitting here, craving a roast with potatoes and cooked carrots....and then I had a craving for a Wendy's Frosty. I'm not pregnant, I swear. But man, the picture of your yummy fried chicken isn't helping. (hehe)

Brook said...

Are you kidding me? I laughed so hard I nearly peed myself and had to take the pic so everyone else could laugh too. I have made this before and this time couldn't find the right pan and wouldn't you know saying "fuck it" when baking just doesn't work like with other things. Some days you just need comfort food and now I want pot roast too!

Nej said...

I wanted it for breakfast...how bad is that??? :-)

WanderingGirl said...

a) I need you to be my personal chef.

b) Put a piece of tin foil under the pan, or on the rack below, and it will catch the spill-over mess... a lesson well learned in my house!

Brook said...

Nej- who says you have to eat eggs and toast for breakfast?

WG-I wonder what the going rate for personal chef is? And as for the foil, by the time I realized what was going on it was too late-I mean it didn't spill over when I made it in the right pan, why would it spill over when I used a smaller one even though it filled up the right one to the top...

ginstonic said...

O,yes fried chicken - I rarely make it myself, of course part of that is the daunting prospect of not makingit as good as your grandma's. I do have her club aluminum dutch oven which is what she fried it in (that and a can of Crisco). I'll give you a recipe for pressure cooker fried chicken - this will be like KFC original- if you want it. Talk to you soon. Love, mom

Nej said...

Too badd Burger King doesn't do a pot roast breakfast meal. (hehe)

Brook said...

Mom-it actually turned out like I remember Gramma's-minus the little peas and sliced tomato and cornbread. One day I'll get that figured out.

Nej-just get Boston Market on the way home and save some for breakfast. Of course a sausage biscuit from BK is tasty every now and again.

Dark Cloud Nine said...

I cannot believe how much you cook, where do you find that energy? That cake looks amazing, all fluffy and wanting to run away :D I say it is a cake with a very serious personality! I am sure your kids loved it even more, because who doesn't love a Mom who can make delicious treats that are also a good joke?
Aren't you a super Mom, really!!!

Brook said...

Well, I don't cook every day but it looks like I do on TV ;) The cake is sooo super delicious-well it was now it's gone. I do think the family appreciates my efforts in the kitchen and I need plenty of ego stroking some days(ok, most days!). Now I just need to figure out my super mom name-wait, I did a silly quiz and I think it's...the Aqua Rickey. Hahhahahaha

Huff Daddy said...

Very nice. Dinah is famous for her peach cobbler, so I will have to compare for myself. I need to try the ol' chicken one of these days too. It's a bravery thing. and I'm not crazy about the smell. In Bainbridge I foolishly at fried chicken every week. I had a handful of choices. Here in NGA/WNC we have NO fried chicken. Do you think that is a sign of the end of times?

Hopefully I can return to the living soon. Yesterday was the first afternoon with out headaches. But they are back today. See a specialist tomorrow. Got my fingers crossed.

PS Personal cheffing is quite lucrative if A) you live somewhere where people will pay for that service (I don't) and B) you are willing to not cook for your own family. Go for it.

Brook said...

Huff Daddy-I hope the specialist can find the cause and knows the cure. Fried chicken-this way-is sooooo easy. I don't know what I was worried about. And yes, I do know that Bainbridge sucks for eating out food choices. I still think that you living there is too f*ing funny! I don't know how the cake stacks up to cobbler though I must say it has everything I like(the crispy crust and peaches) and none of what I don't(the syrupy liquid)so it's good for me. I also make this with fresh strawberries-OMG so good!
You know, I wonder how one would go about findeng someone to cook for on a regular basis. For money I mean. And how it would work. Stuff to think about.

The CEO said...

When you want to start a business, you advertise.

I really have to eat with you guys, soon.

Brook said...

CEO-Bring it on! And I wonder what venue to advertise in, the newspaper no. Monster or something online? Is there a rich people too busy to cook magazine for me to put an ad in? I simply hav no idea.