Quick Fried Chicken
Fried chicken on the table in forty-fi ve minutes? Here it is, the quick recipe. I serve it with Chunky Mashed Potatoes (page 196) and Braised Collard Greens (page 212). The boys love it.
- 1 quart buttermilk or milk
- 2 tablespoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
- 1 3- to 3 1/2- pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces and each breast cut in half again (reserve the neck, back, and wing tips for another purpose)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, plus a little more for sprinkling
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups peanut oil, vegetable oil, bacon fat, or lard
- In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, stir together the buttermilk and Tabasco. Submerge the chicken parts in the mixture and leave as long as possible, at least 10 minutes (but up to overnight — in the fridge — is even better).
- In a plastic or paper bag, combine the flour, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
- Shake the chicken parts, 2 or 3 pieces at a time, in the flour. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Shake off the excess flour. In a 14-inch skillet (or two smaller skillets), heat 2 inches of oil over high heat until very hot. Test with a tiny bit of chicken skin. If the oil bubbles immediately, it is hot enough.
- Place the chicken into the hot oil. Evenly distribute as many pieces as will fit in one layer in the pan, leaving 1/2 inch between pieces, and leave to fry undisturbed for about 15 minutes. Lower the heat as necessary to prevent excessive browning before the meat is cooked properly; the oil should continue to bubble steadily. Turn the pieces and cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove to a rack to drain. Repeat the process to cook all the chicken. To keep the first batch warm, place on a rimmed baking sheet in a 200-degree oven. Sprinkle with salt and serve.