Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pan Gravy
Fried chicken is a Southern main meal in the USA, served often at "Sunday dinner" ("dinner" being the midday meal for many Southerners) or church "suppers" ("supper" being the term for the evening meal). Recipes are legion; every family has one handed down. Here's one:
To make the Chicken
- one whole chicken
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp cayenne powder
- 2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tsp paprika
- flour seasoned with herbs and spices (see procedure)
The spice mix isn't fixed. You can use more or less as desired.
- Cut up a chicken into 8-10 pieces.
- Mix other ingredients except seasoned flour together, and marinate the chicken pieces for four hours in the mixture.
- Take each chicken piece out of the marinade and allow it to drip dry a few seconds. Then dredge it in seasoned flour. (Seasonings could include pepper, cayenne, salt, ground coriander, cinnamon, thyme, oregano). An easy way to dredge: put flour and seasonings in a small plastic bag, drop the piece in, and shake.
- Let the pieces rest (separately; do not stack) for about 10 minutes. Then dredge them again. The first dredging absorbs the buttermilk marinade. The second dredging gives a seasoned flour outer coat.
- Fry pieces in a deep, wide pan. Use an oil with a high smoke-point (peanut oil is good, but corn oil is okay too). When oil is smoking hot, drop pieces into the pan, and be careful to not overcrowd (pieces should not touch; fry in two batches). After three or four minutes, turn the chicken, and reduce the heat. Let the chicken fry for 20-25 minutes, turning the pieces every few minutes. When the chicken is a deep golden-brown, and the juices run clear, it's done. The chicken will continue to cook after being removed from the pan, so err on the side of "just about done".
- Drain the chicken on absorbent paper or cloth. If you are not serving the chicken immediately, place it in a lightly-warmed oven, uncovered, separately (not stacked).
To make the gravy
- 1 small onion (or shallots) chopped
- clove of garlic
- 3-4 tbsp flour
- 3 cups chicken stock/bouillon (or 2 cups stock and 1 cup cream)
- salt and pepper
- Pour off the accumulated oil from the pan, though reserving 3-4 tablespoons and all the flour and chicken residue. Keeping the pan on medium flame, toss in one small chopped onion and a clove of garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Whisk in 3-4 tablespoons of flour, and keep stirring until the mixture becomes light to medium brown. Do not burn.
- Whisk in 3 cups of chicken stock or bouillon (or 2 cups stock and 1 cup cream). Simmer on low flame, covered, for 15 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve chicken with rice, and with some green vegetable. Spoon gravy over rice and chicken.