In honor of my husband’s birthday, I decided to face one of my cooking fears and break out the Fry Daddy. Yes, it’s time for some fried chicken.
Since I only had a vague idea of how to make fried chicken, I turned to (who else?) Paula Deen. Unfortunately, her recipe seems to have been written for someone who already knows how to make fried chicken. This was especially problematic because I didn’t realize the problems until I had already started making other parts of dinner. So I kind of figured it out for myself.
I am scared of whole chickens and I don’t like dark meat (insert joke about my taste in men here), so I decided to just buy a package of legs for the hubs and a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts for me. Then I cooked everything together, which wasn’t a great idea. So please do the white meat pieces separately — and check them earlier.
The recipe also called for frying the chicken in Crisco, which grossed me out. So I used oil, but of course there were issues with that, too. I forgot to buy more canola oil (yes, I am dumb), so I used all my canola, put a little peanut oil in there and then borrowed more canola from my awesome neighbor.
I am sure that there are many other fried chicken recipes out there that are more complicated, and possibly better than this one. But this was really easy, and my husband loved it. And he is a Kentucky colonel (seriously, that’s a real thing), so I think that makes him an expert on fried chicken.
You are supposed to season the chicken first and let it sit in the fridge for at least two hours. But I don’t have Paula’s house seasoning or even Lawry’s seasoned salt, so I just used salt and pepper (I also put a little bit of this questionable poultry seasoning on some of the nuggets, but I wouldn’t recommend that). I may try something involving ranch seasoning at some point (in an effort to replicate the wondrous Snelling Hall ranch chicken fingers), but until then… try this. Just be ready for your house to smell like Five Guys.
This recipe serves about 4.
Fried chicken (based very loosely on a recipe from Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook)
One 2 1/2-pound chicken, cut into pieces OR two packages chicken pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup water
2 cups flour*
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups cooking oil or a can of Crisco, for frying
Season chicken with salt and pepper (and any other seasonings you wish) and store, covered, in the refrigerator at least two hours.
When ready, heat oil or shortening in Fry Daddy or a Dutch oven. Whisk eggs and water together in one bowl. In a separate bowl, mix flour and pepper. Dip seasoned chicken in egg, then coat well with flour mixture.
Fry chicken in hot oil or shortening (Paula says 350 degrees) in small batches, until brown and crisp. Dark meat requires longer cooking time (legs took about 15 minutes), white meat should be ready earlier (8 to 10 minutes).
*Updated: I have now learned that self-rising flour apparently is better than all-purpose for fried chicken because it makes it crispier. Regardless, start with a cup of flour in the dredging bowl/dish and add more if necessary.