Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy
This is a recipe from childhood, before we started worrying about fats and just concentrated on flavor. Bacon fat can even be substituted for some of the shortening for even more flavor. You won’t find this at a spa, but it is a delicious classic dish. Covering the pan while the chicken fries creates a moist and tender chicken; uncovering it for a few minutes at the end of the cooking process crisps the crust. Traditionally this chicken would come to the table with biscuits to sop the gravy.
- Fryer - one, 3-pound, cut into serving pieces
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
- Shortening - 2 pounds
- Unbleached All-purpose flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Poultry Seasoning - 1 teaspoon
- Paprika - 1 teaspoon
- Dash of cayenne pepper
- Cream Gravy
- Chicken Grease - 2 tablespoons, reserved
- Seasoned flour - 2 tablespoons, reserved
- Evaporated Milk - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
Place the chicken in a mixing bowl and cover with cold water. Add the salt and baking soda to the water, refrigerate, and allow to sit for 1 hour.
Take the chicken out of the refrigerator, drain, and let them sit for 10 minutes to begin to warm. Melt the shortening in a heavy deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat and heat until it reaches a temperature of 350 F. Mix the flour with the poultry seasoning, paprika, and cayenne. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Shake the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then roll again in the flour and carefully place the chicken in the hot fat. Cover the pan and cook until browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn when brown, then re-cover and cook an additional 12 to 15 minutes. When the juices run clear when the thickest pieces are pierced with the point of a sharp knife, remove the cover to crisp the chicken. Drain well on paper towels and cover lightly with aluminum foil to keep warm.
To make the gravy: Pour all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the skillet and add the reserved seasoned flour. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly to 2 minutes to cook the flour, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of the pan. Slowly add the evaporated milk, and then the water, whisking constantly to keep the gravy smooth. Season with salt and pepper.