Monday, August 31, 2009

Southern Fried Chicken - Musings

Last Monday was my baby boy's last free day before he started 6th grade. He decided that he wanted to go for a picnic. We decided to have our picnic at Piney Run Park. It is a beautiful location with a nice lake and picnic tables. My thought was to have southern fried chicken and sides. I already told you about my problems with potato salad so I planned to buy the side dishes but make my own southern fried chicken. Everyone knows who the Queen of Southern Fried Food is -- Paula Deen, of course. That's why I used Paula's recipe for SFC. The recipe was taken from but is attributed to Paula. I didn't use the hot sauce because I was pretty sure D wouldn't like it. Also, I don't like messing with chicken on the bone so naturally I decided to make southern fried chicken strips ala Paula Deen. My tastebuds were so ready for 'em!

I got going early Monday morning. I poured a combination of safflower and canola oil in a deep pan about half full. I didn't want to put too much oil in the pot for fear of it -- HOT OIL! I am not comfortable with hot oil (i.e. grease). It isn't my favorite medium. I don't own a fry baby or deep fryer. I'm afraid that if I did own one I might start frying all kinds of things that really shouldn't be fried. But, let's face it, I'm not a southern gal. I'm Italian. I don't know squat about deep frying stuff in hot oil. It is scary. Shortly after I got the oil nice and hot, I heard the unmistakable beeping of our smoke alarm as the house started to fill up with smoke! Yes, that's right. Smoke. I never really thought, "hmmm, maybe I should put on the fan over the stove so I don't smoke up the house." That just never entered my mind until I heard the smoke alarm blaring. My darling husband starts opening windows and doors and fanning the smoke around. Then D walks by and says, "hey, mom that chicken looks overcooked." Yes, at age 10 he is a fried chicken expert. No, really. I mean he doesn't like anything that is brown. When I make grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs on the grill or anything that could potentially get dark brown he freaks. So, I instantly pulled those chicken strips out of the hot oil. I dutifully placed them on layers of paper towels and breathed a sigh of relief that they were done.... or so I thought!

Once we got to our picnic table on the edge of the lake, we pulled out all yummy looking food. Then I took a fork and knife and cut open one of the pieces of chicken. It was RAW! Yikes. Yes, raw!! I was so upset, depressed, sad, scared, offended, embarrassed! You name it. Luckily it was just me, my hubby and my baby boy. Then and there my boy says, "Mom, at least the lemonade is good." He was trying to be sweet but it missed its mark.

Try this recipe and make sure you cook the chicken long enough. My friend, S happened to make Southern Fried Chicken last week and hers turned out overcooked. You just can't win....

Southern Fried Chicken
by Paula Deen

House Seasoning:

1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Southern Fried Chicken:

4 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 cup hot red pepper sauce
2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon pepper

House Seasoning
2 1/2-pound chicken, cut into pieces
Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil

To make the House Seasoning, mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the House Seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil.
Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp.

Dark meat takes longer than white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

Good luck!

The Creative Cook