Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Fried Chicken and More

Unless you've been living under a rock you've probably heard of the movie The Help. It came out last week and I was lucky enough to go see it with a few members of my book club. The movie's based on the book of the same name by Kathryn Stockett:

I read this book back in January at the urging of friends. It was wonderful. Some parts were so sad I cried, other parts were so funny I laughed until I cried. The movie was equally as good, whoever did the casting did an excellent job. One of the happier parts of the book/movie was all the amazing southern food, specifically the fried chicken. I've noticed lately that I start craving foods that are mentioned in the books I'm reading: for 2 weeks all I wanted was stew and fresh baked breads and I was reading the Kingdom books, any time I read a Stephanie Plum book I have to have doughnuts, and A Game of Thrones has me dreaming of roasts. Of course books have the opposite effect on me too, Skinny by Diana Spechler had me gagging and skipping meals.

So with the Help so fresh in my mind I decided it was time to cook up some delicious fried chicken and biscuits. In addition to that we had some grilled veggies and potato salad. It was quite the ethnically Southern meal.

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Fried Chicken
Adapted from this recipe

1 whole chicken cut up (we about 10 pieces)
2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups flour
garlic powder
3 T buttermilk

At least 2 hours before you plan to cook the chicken season the pieces liberally with salt and pepper and place in bowl or plastic bag. Cover with the buttermilk. Flip the pieces every so often.

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When you're ready to cook the chicken mix the flour and the seasonings. Sorry I didn't measure but I'd say at least a teaspoon of each. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of buttermilk over the flour mixture and stir until you get small crumbs. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and coat in the flour mixture. Place the chicken on a wire rack until you're ready to fry it.

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Fry each piece until done. I'm not being specific here because this is really trial and error and knowing your kitchen equipment. We used an electric wok and vegetable shortening. At 325 degrees each piece was cooked for 10-15 per side. This will also depend on the size of your chicken pieces, we had big chicken pieces.

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Do NOT place the chicken on a paper towel after frying as this will lead to soggy skin. Instead place on a clean wire rack.

And per request my biscuit recipe. Originally I followed this recipe exactly. Its a biscuit in which you actually cut the dough. Every time half of my biscuits would turn out nice a fluffy and light and the other half would turn out flat and dense. One day I accidentally added too much milk and had to "drop" the dough on the cookie sheet. This produced all nice fluffy biscuits but not the pretty shape - as if that matters. So depending on if you want drop or cut biscuits follow the original or add a tablespoon to two more milk and just scoop and drop the dough.

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After consuming way too many biscuits with honey and way too much chicken I grabbed all my library books. They are a sad bunch because right now I'm trying to finish A Game of Thrones and it's taking me forever! When will I get to these? (Especially since I'm tempted to move directly on two the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series.)

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  1. That chicken looks awesome! My grandmother used to make those "drop biscuits" using the Bisquick biscuit recipe and dropping the batter into muffin tins. Much easier than rolling and cutting out! Also, grilled veggies are not Southern. Southern vegetables have to be cooked for a minimum of 2 hours before eaten. And they must have lots of butter or sugar or salt in them. (Yes, my other grandma puts sugar in her green beans and cooks them on low for like at least an hour and they are incredible!) Very yummy post! Fun!

  2. I'm going to visit you one day and you can cook me a real southern meal ;-) I was actually going to make collard greens with bacon, but they were so expensive at the store I opted for the free veggies from my garden.