Our Southern Mama’s Fried Chicken

My husband lived in Knoxville with his family for a year when he was a Senior in high school. Even though he only lived there for a short time he still considers it his childhood home, and he has a wonderful Southern Mama who I first met when we were engaged. His sister married into their family and they are truly wonderful people. After we got engaged it was apparent that I had to meet his Southern Mama and learn how to make his favorite southern dishes: Fried Chicken, and Biscuits. What a treat to watch her in the kitchen teaching us step by step to make these southern staples. There is something simply magical that takes place in the kitchen when good food is being made from scratch. I hope the kitchen will always be the heart of our home.

There are a lot of recipes out there for Fried Chicken, but the most basic and delicious recipe is the one Mama makes. Like most of our favorite meals it begins with no specific recipe, just a list of the basic ingredients. 

Chicken Breast,

Milk,

Eggs,

Salt and Peppered All-Purpose Flour,

Oil for frying (I usually use Canola).

Trim off the fat, cut the chicken breast into small pieces, as even in size as possible, and put pieces into the milk. Beat the eggs. Scoop about 2 C. of flour into a bowl and add salt and pepper: Do not skimp on the salt and pepper. Pour the oil into your frying pan for cooking, and wait until it starts to snap slightly to add the chicken. Keep one hand clean and use the other for dredging, since you will have thickly covered fingers after not too many chicken pieces, and I like to have paper towels close by in case I need to wipe up. This process can be messy, but it’s so worth it. Take the chicken from the milk, dredge in the flour, cover with eggs, then dredge it in the flour a 2nd time, taking care not to shake off the excess flour, and lay into the oil carefully. Since we did 3 chicken breasts yesterday I had to re-do my flour mixture and beat more eggs, and since I was cooking multiple batches I scooped as much of the extra bits out of the oil as I could in-between batches to make sure the next set of chicken was as beautiful as the first set. I also usually add a little bit of fresh oil in-between batches also. My husband and I want our fried chicken to be chicken breast, and not bone-in pieces of the chicken. It cooks faster, with a great breading to chicken ratio, and is easy to eat. Cooking the chicken is a process that requires standing by the stove and rotating the chicken pieces, making sure they are cooking evenly, and that the breading is not getting too dark before the chicken is cooked. When I think it is done I will place the cooked chicken on a plate on top of paper towels to sop up the excess oil, and cut into a few of the pieces, generally the largest ones, to make sure the inside is completely cooked. We eat this chicken with mashed potatoes and biscuits, or we’ll cut it up and put it into a wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, and whatever else we want. My husband tosses his chicken in Buffalo sauce before he eats it. He has discovered a love for Buffalo sauce and I can’t complain since I eat mine with Baby Ray’s barecue sauce.

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