Oh the joys of a down home chicken fry! Talk about the mother of all blue plate specials – crispied chicken smothered in gravy with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and whatever vegetable you like. It’s a new era in finger lickin’ good, my friends! Given that this is not exactly a light meal, I tend to focus on portion control by butterflying the chicken breast to make it stretch a little longer and to limit calories. If you want to use the whole breast, it’s your winner winner chicken dinner!
Whether you are aiming for a light lunch or a hungry girl dinner, my chicken fried chicken whips up in 30-minutes or less. Suggested pairings include crème fraiche mash and my buttery peppery mug o’ peas. Be prepared – You will have to marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours prior to cooking. I suggest tackling this step first thing in the morning that way it’s ready to go when you are.
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1-2 servings depending on whether you use the whole or butterflied chicken breast.
1. First thing in the morning, marinate the chicken in the buttermilk marinade.
2. Place the butterflied chicken breast in a Ziploc bag and add enough buttermilk to cover (about 1/3-1/2 cup). Season with salt, pepper and pinch of cayenne. Seal the bag and give it a good shake to be sure the seasoning incorporates. Place the bag in a bowl, in case the bag leaks, and store it in the fridge to marinate. Hi Ho hi ho, it’s off to work we go! Unless you’re making this meal on a weekend, in which case, let the chicken marinate for at least 2 hours before frying.
To the Dipping Stations, Alice
Ziploc Bag 1 – 1 large egg, scrambled
Ziploc Bag 2 – 1/3 cup all-purpose flour + ½ teaspoon seasoning salt + ¼ teaspoon pepper + 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, shaken not stirred
Ziploc Bag 3 – the reserved buttermilk from the marinade
1/3 cup canola oil
1. Begin by preheating your oil and setting up your dipping stations as shown above.
2. Shake the flour mixture to be sure the seasonings are well incorporated, then set aside 2 tablespoons for the gravy. This will leave you with roughly 1/4 cup of the flour mixture in the Ziploc bag.
3. What’s the plan?
a) Shimmy the chicken in the egg,
b) then, dredge the chicken in the flour,
c) next, add 1-2 tablespoons of buttermilk to the remaining egg and shake the chicken in the eggy buttermilk,
d) and finally, it’s back to the flour for a nice lovely coating.
Now it’s into the hot frying pan, my lovely. Discard the Ziploc bags.
4. There are two keys to really good Chicken Fried Chicken – 1) enough oil to reach at least halfway up the chicken and 2) laissez faire cooking. The first we took care of in step 1. For the second, gently place your flour enrobed chicken in the oil and walk away. It will need to cook about 5-7 minutes per side but you really don’t want to turn it too often or the flour will fall off and decorate your oil instead of your chicken!
5. Once you are satisfied with his golden loveliness, move your chicken to a paper towel to cool and drain whilst we get on with the gravy!
2 tablespoons of seasoned flour, reserved from above
1/4 cup of chicken stock
2 tablespoons fat free half-n-half
1 tablespoon of oil, reserved from frying the chicken
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Drain the oil from the frying pan, reserving about 1 tablespoon for the gravy. Add to this 1 tablespoon of butter and melt over medium heat.
2. Next, add the 2 tablespoons of seasoned flour whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes. To keep the flour from burning, be prepared to quickly add in the chicken stock.
3. When you are ready, add the chicken stock, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. As soon as the mixture takes on a thick and velvety texture, remove from the heat and add in your half-n-half and season to taste. All that’s left to do is assemble the troops and munch away!
Variations on a Theme: Chicken Fried Steak anyone?? Replace the chicken breast with an extra tenderized cube steak and you’re good to go! Although cube steak has already been tenderized, I like mine extra tender, so I tend to give it a few Goodfella whacks with a meat tenderizer, but hey, your food, your call!