Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lori's Fried Chicken

Lori's Fried Chicken

This is how I make my fried chicken. Many people are afraid of making fried chicken because they think it is too hard, but as these pictures will show, it is not hard at all. And it is very tasty, moist, and delicious. You can also use bone-in chicken with the skin on, but it will take longer to cook. If you use bone-in chicken breasts with the skin, then make sure you follow directions below for browning and then finishing off in the oven. Unless you buy chicken from the farm, most chicken today have breasts that are super large and difficult to get cooked through using conventional frying.

Take a basic piece of chicken, such as this boneless, skinless chicken breast, and wash and dry it. Remove any excess fat.

On a cutting board, pound the chicken evenly so that it is not as thick. This helps to break down the muscle tissue, which makes it more tender, and also, it makes the chicken more uniform in size so that it cooks more evenly. How do you dig that meat tenderizer? It came from a Kmart Blue Light special back in 1979 and I paid .10c for it! It is still going strong!

Choose which herbs and spices you want to use to season your chicken. I use paprika, thyme, parsley, poultry seasoning, Real sea salt, black pepper, some Sylvia's Secret Seasoning (in the baggie), seasoned salt, garlic powder, basil, and whatever happens to suit my fancy! I take about 1 cup of unbleached flour and place it in a gallon Zip-loc bag, dump in seasonings, just what looks right, and blend it well. I like a seasoning that you can taste, but one that is not overpowering. I tend to be a 'dump' cook as I 'dump a bit of this, and dump  a bit of that', but don't be afraid to use some spices and herbs!

This is what it all looks like once it is mixed up in the bag. You can see all those herbs and spices mixed in with the unbleached flour. And it smells divine!

I add a little extra season salt to the chicken before I coat it with the flour. I like the added seasoning.

Melt some shortening or oil in the skillet you will be using. I have organic palm shortening in the pan above that is melting. Palm shortening is a heart-healthy oil. Of course, you can use lard or tallow, coconut oil, or any other healthy oil that you like. I melt about a quarter-inch of oil in the pan.

You want the melted grease to be hot, but not smoking. The trick to good fried chicken (or any fried foods) is to have your fat hot enough to begin cooking the food when it enters the fat. I usually will place a bit of water on my finger and drop it in the oil, if it splatters and 'dances' on the oil, the oil is hot enough to cook with.

Coat your chicken well in the bag with the herbs and spices, then add to the skillet, making sure there is some room so they are not too crowded. You can see the fat is bubbling around the chicken as it is hot enough to be cooking the chicken so that the flour does not soak up all that fat. Allow your chicken to cook for about 10-12 minutes per side. You want to cook your chicken on a medium-low heat so the chicken cooks, but the outside does not burn.

Your chicken will be nice and golden brown when you turn it. Notice the pieces cooking on sides of chicken? That is blood cooking out. Just take a fork and pick those out of the fat and either give to your dog or toss in the trash. Look at how beautiful the herbs look cooked on the chicken.

When chicken is cooked through (you can use a meat thermometer to check for doneness or do what I do and feel the chicken, but this takes years of practice), then move to some absorbent paper on a plate to soak up any extra grease. Look at how nicely browned that chicken is! A deep golden brown, but not burned! Of course, you can use skin on chicken, any pieces of chicken you like as the process is the same. I prefer the boneless, skinless chicken breasts as they are my favorite.

If I do use skin on chicken breasts, the chicken breasts are usually so huge that they will not cook thoroughly on the stove without burning the skin eventually. What I do is to brown the chicken well on all sides, then place the chicken breasts on a cookie sheet (with a lip on sides), and continue to cook by baking in a 350F degree oven for about 30 minutes, You will have the most delicious and moist chicken ever! Delicious!

Now you know how to cook some delicious and juicy chicken!

Here are some ideas for the Flour seasoning mixture:

About 1-2 cups unbleached white flour
About 1-2 Tbls MSG-free seasoned salt (your favorite brand or homemade)
About 1 tsp or so of paprika
About 1 tsp of garlic powder
About 1 tsp of poultry seasoning
About 1 Tbls of parsley
About 1/2 tsp basil (or more, if you like)
About 1/2 tsp Sylvia's Secret Seasoning
About 1/2 tsp black pepper
About 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, if you want a 'bite' in your seasoning

Blend all ingredients well and keep in plastic Zip-loc bag or other container of your choice. You can add other seasonings and in any amounts. Don't be afraid to play around with this to make it the way you like it.

Lori's Fried Chicken Recipe

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Flour seasoning mixture
Extra seasoning salt
Oil for frying, preferably a heart-healthy choice like Palm Oil Shortening.

Wash and dry chicken breasts.
On a cutting board, pound chicken with a meat mallet on both sides so that the pieces are of a uniform thickness.
Place some palm oil shortening in the skillet, about 1/4 inch of oil, and heat on medium low heat till oil is hot. To test oil, sprinkle a drop or two of water in oil to see if it splatters and dances. When it does, the oil is hot and ready for the chicken.
Place a piece of chicken in the flour mixture and coat well on all sides. Place the chicken in the skillet and then coat another piece until all pieces are coated. You can usually only fry 3-4 pieces at a time unless you use two skillets.
Fry for about 10-12 minutes per side, turning chicken over when it is done frying on one side.
Using a meat thermometer you can check to see when your chicken is done.
Remove from pan and place on paper towels on a plate.
Eat and enjoy!

If you decide to use boned chicken breasts, cook chicken on all sides and cook to a golden brown. Place pieces on a lipped cookie sheet and place in a 350F degree oven. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and place pieces on paper towels to drain. Eat and enjoy!