My mother has a great collection of cookbooks, and a few weeks ago she unearthed one called Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine. It is made up of equal parts family history and Southern cooking recipes, and we couldn't resist the recipe for fried chicken. The chicken pieces were tossed in a paper bag with flour, salt, and a few seasonings, then shallow-fried in shortening, which made for an extra-crispy coating. Read on for the recipe.We served it with some fantastic, buttery grits and a big salad. My six-year-old son ate the skin off a drumstick and declared "the skin is the best part!" That's pretty much what fried chicken is all about, right?
I know fried chicken is not something to eat every day, but it was a treat to make it from scratch. Here's the recipe:
Norma Jean’s Fried Chicken
1 chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into 8 pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper
1 3-pound can vegetable shortening
Wash the chicken in lukewarm water and set it aside.
Place the dry ingredients in a brown paper or plastic bag and shake to combine.
Melt the shortening in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy skillet—cast iron is ideal.
Wipe the chicken of excess water, leaving a bit of moisture. Drop the chicken, a few pieces at a time, into the flour mixture, coating well.
Test the fat—when a drop of water sizzles when it hits it, it s hot enough. Carefully add a few pieces of chicken at a time and cook until it is golden brown all over. Adjust the heat as necessary; it should be hot enough to cook the chicken through without it burning. Remove the pieces to paper towels to drain before serving.