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Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy 101

Southern Fried Chicken with Gravy 101In yesteryear, this meal is what made Sunday afternoon special and the preacher on time for supper. Golden, crispy fried chicken served with a milk-based gravy made from the pan drippings, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob, and homemade buttermilk biscuits to sop up the gravy.

Recipe Ingredients:

Fried Chicken:
1 (2 1/2 to 3-pound) fryer chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt for brining
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups buttermilk

Vegetable shortening for frying (preferably Crisco brand)

3 tablespoons reserved chicken grease
1/4 cup reserved seasoned flour
3 cups milk*
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cooking Directions:

  1. For Fried Chicken: Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl or pan. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt and the baking soda and cover with cold water. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the water and drain thoroughly. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, poultry seasoning (if using), paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of the seasoned flour to make the gravy.
  4. Place the buttermilk in another medium bowl.
  5. Dredge the chicken pieces first in the seasoned flour, then dip each piece into the buttermilk and again, dredge in the seasoned flour mixture. Place pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Let stand for 5 minutes** (at this point, chicken can be refrigerated, uncovered, for up to 2 hours before frying).
  6. Meanwhile, melt the shortening (about 3/4 to 1-inch deep melted) in a large, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and heat until it reaches a temperature of 350°F (175°C).
  7. When the melted shortening has reached the desired temperature, carefully place the prepared chicken pieces, bone-side down, in the skillet. Cover the pan and cook until nicely browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over***, cover and cook an additional 12 to 15 minutes or until the juices run clear when tested.
  8. Remove the cover and continue cooking just long enough to crisp the chicken. Remove chicken and drain on a brown paper bag lined with paper towels. Keep warm.
  9. For Gravy: Drain all but 3 tablespoons of the grease in the skillet, leaving all those crispy browned bits in the skillet. Heat over medium heat and stir in the reserved 3 tablespoons seasoned flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until gravy thickens and is smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Makes 6 servings.

*Or substitute with 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk and 12 ounces water.

**For more "crunch" on your chicken, you can opt to dredge the chicken a third time in the seasoned flour after the 5 minutes are up and let sit for another 5 minutes or refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 2 hours until ready to fry.

***Be careful when lifting the cover as condensation does form and it will drip back into the hot grease causing unwanted splatters. Have a linen or paper towel handy to dry the inside of the cover before setting it back on top of the skillet.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (1/6 of recipe): 354.0 calories; 33% calories from fat; 13.3g total fat; 34.6mg cholesterol; 430.3mg sodium; 379.3mg potassium; 40.1g carbohydrates; 1.3g fiber; 8.3g sugar; 38.8g net carbs; 17.3g protein.

Recipe and photograph by Hope Cantil; copyright © 1999; property of See Terms of Use.