For Memorial Day, I couldn't cook out. It's in my nature to cook out on Memorial Day...my fambly always does. I'm not used to not being able to grill even though last year I couldn't either.
Anyways. Instead, I did the best that I could. I made fried chicken, biscuits, and pie. Berry pie.
It was frabjous. I've done a lot of work perfecting my fried chicken, because Jesse's mom apparently makes amazing fried chicken. And I've been told that my fried chicken is as good as it could be. So I've gotten fancier. I've added Sazon (I can't live without it), I've added panko, I've used buttermilk, eggs, both.... But on Monday, I went back to basics. I soaked the chicken legs and thighs in milk while I was out at the park with Jesse and Bruno on a gorgeous day. Then, I just dreged them in egg and flour, and fried them in shortening and vegetable oil.
This is my gorgeous cast-iron skillet, which is the most amazing thing that Hylton left me when he moved out of North 8th street, except for my blue Le Creuset. I got my chicken frying method out of a book called Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin. Her method is perfect, when it comes to the cooking. Here's the basics.
1). Dredge your chicken pieces however you want. I prefer legs and thighs. I usually dip in flour, egg, flour. I usually soak in milk. I season the flour with salt, pepper and chili powder. I season the egg with hot sauce. After I season the chicken, I put it all in the hot oil (the flour from your fingers should sizzle like crazy before you put the chicken in) and cover it. Then, after about 5 or 6 minutes, I flip it over and cover it again. Then, after it's cooked (and steamed) on the inside, I turn up the heat, and fry it till it's brown, crispy, and gorgeous.
One of the things that I hate about this kitchen is that my floor's not even. Since it's not even, the shortening drifts to one side of the skillet, which leads to problems like this:
The far right hand piece of chicken is burnt to shit. It apparently still tasted fine, because Jesse ate a whole bunch of this cheeken. But because it was in too much contact with the hot cast iron, and not enough contact with the hot fat, the cheekie burnt. Damn.
But, the other pieces were carefully policed, which lead to a beautiful situation, for the most part. The chicken was moist, because while covered, it steams on the inside. It was also crispy, because it had time to get so while the heat was cranked up a little and the oil and shortening were poppin' and snapping like it wasn't no thang.
To go along with the chicken, I made biscuits and pie. The biscuits were once again beautiful. I've found that the recipe that I posted for Saturday's entry, which calls for milk and lemon juice, can take a tablespoon of vinegar instead of lemon juice. White vinegar. it works just as well. Also, I recommend that special low-water-content, high fat butter that is ideal for pie crust, because it makes things flakier and more lovely. I also used it in the pie crust, shockingly.
Here are the money shots of both of the above. You have to admit, this is pretty sexy stuff. I'm not going to lie. This is not a healthy meal. This is a high-starch meal. This is a somewhat greasy meal (unless you drain your chicken on paper bags like I do). But damn. it's a good meal. Lookit that biscuit. Lookit that pie. Look at that beauty.
It was delicious. I am proud of it. But, if anyone has any ideas how to make a berry pie where the berries don't get all juicy, but instead kind of congeal more.... I'd be very grateful. I've added arrowroot and flour and sugar... but not enough. Help.