Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Virginia Fried Chicken

My daughter wanted to make fried chicken tonight, but we had neither the bone-in pieces commonly used nor the time to do it right. So we faked it - and it worked. We started with the three boneless, skinless chicken breasts I had defrosted and a recipe from Martha Stewart, and improvised from there. She did most of the work and was gratified when her brothers told her it was good - unusual, but good. It is also a good way to stretch chicken a bit.

Virginia Fried Chicken
Start with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 2 for every three people. Slice them into 4 pieces crosswise, then halve any that are quite thick; for a large breast, you should have about 6 pieces. Put the pieces in a bowl and cover with buttermilk and a little hot sauce of some type; we used chili oil, but any variety would work; don't add enough to make it hot, just enough to add a little flavor, maybe a tablespoon or less. If you don't have buttermilk, plain yogurt, stirred in, would work. Let sit while you get everything else ready.

In a wide bowl or deep plate, mix half flour and half cornmeal; add salt and pepper to taste. Pour a half-inch of oil into a heavy skillet and heat over medium-high until it pops when you toss in a droplet of water. Lay out some newspapers near the skillet for draining the oil off the chicken. One at a time, take a piece of chicken out of the buttermilk, dredge it in the flour/cornmeal, and add it gently to the oil. Depending on the size of the skillet, you will be able to cook 3-6 at a time; don't over-crowd them or they won't cook properly. Fry for 3-4 minute, until the edges of the chicken/coating are turning golden brown. Turn over and cook for the same time on the other side, then remove from oil and place on the newspapers to drain. Cut one piece open to make sure it is cooked through. Repeat until chicken is all cooked.

Serve with your favorite accompaniments. We used hot wing sauce, dipping sauce, and blue cheese dressing for the chicken, plus biscuits and a salad. These would be good in buffalo-wing wraps, too. Recycle the newspapers after dinner.

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