Friday, May 10, 2013

Week 19- Fried Chicken and Buttermilk Biscuits

This week I wanted to make a truly southern meal. We have this cute cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, that is all southern food. It is a neat book because it follows this big city turned cowboy farm girl. She writes it more like a diary than a cookbook. Out of her book I decided to cook Fried Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and Patsy's Blueberry Cobbler for our big ole meal. It was all so much easier to make than I thought. Just make sure you cook your chicken all the way through!

Fried Chicken

2 cut-up fryer chickens (I used only one chicken)
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup milk
canola or vegetable oil for frying (I used half a bottle)

Thoroughly rinse the chicken, then cover all the pieces with the quart of buttermilk and soak in the fridge overnight. When ready to fry, remove the bowl from the fridge and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes, just to take of the chill.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 F and mix up the breading. Place the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika, and cayenne in a very large bowl. Stir together well.

In the small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and, with a pastry cutter or fork, gradually mix until there are little lumps throughout. This will adhere to the chicken and make for a crispier breading. If necessary, add a little more flour or milk to the bowl in order to make it slightly lumpy.

Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 365 F. Lower the heat slightly to keep the oil from getting any hotter.

Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with breading, pressing extra breading onto the chicken if necessary. Place the breaded pieces on a plate.

Add the chicken to the oil 3 or 4 pieces at a time. Make sure they aren't sticking together, then cover the pan and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken isn't getting too brown. Turn the pieces over, cover again, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more. All the whole, monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken doesn't burn. Keep in mind that we'll finish cooking the chicken in the oven, and it will continue to brown.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken. When all the chicken has been fried, bake the chicken for 15 minutes, to finish the cooking process. Sometimes I'll cut into the thicker part of one of the larger pieces, just to make sure the chicken is cooked through. If any pink is visible, the chicken needs to continue cooking in the oven.

Buttermilk Biscuits

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (If you don't have any, add 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar to just under 1 cup low-fat milk and stir together)

Preheat the oven to 450 F.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Stir together. Add the shortening and cold butter pieces. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening and butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix gently with a fork until just combined. The biscuit dough will be sticky, not overly dry or crumbly.

Lightly flour a clean surface. Turn the dough out of the bowl and roll to a 1/3 to 3/4 thickness, depending on how thick you'd like your biscuits to be.

Cut rounds with a biscuit cutter and place them in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes, until golden brown. Do not underbake or the biscuits will be doughy.

It was a delicious southern meal! We didn't have a biscuit round, so I used a flower cooke cutter. Made the biscuits festive! Check out my next post for the blueberry cobbler!

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