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Fourth of July Recipes: Southern Fried Chicken

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Once again this is not really my family recipe because I don’t really follow one.  This was another recipe learned at my mother and grandmothers’ sides.  However, this recipe is the same as mine…they have simply listed actual quantities (shocking!).  Like the German potato salad, this isn’t exactly diet fare or terribly heart healthy so I would suggest using it only occasionally but it is terribly tasty!

Ingredients:

One whole frying chicken, cut into pieces

About one cup of flour

About one cup of milk (I prefer to use canned evaporated milk or buttermilk for its richness)

Salt and pepper to your taste

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

About 1 quart of vegetable or canola oil for frying

Instructions:

Wash and dry the chicken pieces.  Season them with the spices.  If you like an extra bit of spice, you can also add some the flour itself.  Dip each piece of chicken into the flour, then the milk, then back in the flour again.  This makes the chicken get a nice crispy coat to it.  Some people like to either add a beaten egg to the milk, dip the chicken in egg in place of the milk, or to dip the chicken into the flour, then milk, then egg, then back to the flour.  I have wondered about experimenting with dipping it in the flour, then milk, then flour, then egg, then more flour but perhaps this is just overkill?  Anyway, all of that is simply up to personal preference.  I like a crispy coat but not a really thick one and I find that the addition of the egg makes it thicker so I do without.  Besides, my original family recipe did not call for egg either.  Put 1/2 to 3/4 inch of oil in a deep frying pan.  Heat it to about 365 degrees F (185 C).  Be sure not to put the chicken in to cook until the oil has reached the appropriate temperature or your chicken may taste greasy and may not be as crispy as it should be.  Cover and fry until golden, turning once, for about 15-20 minutes.  I like to uncover the pan for the last 3-5 minutes to add one final touch of crunch.  Don’t try to eliminate the lid entirely in thoughts that it will make it the crispiest chicken ever.  It needs to have the lid on for at least 10 minutes in order to steam the chicken and ensure that it is fully cooked on the inside without burning it on the outside.   It can be valuable to drain the chicken on paper towels after cooking to absorb any residual oil from it.

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