Last night I made fried chicken as payment for a bribe. I had anticipated roasting a chicken the other night, but got home late and I was feeling really lazy- which is kind of a silly excuse because it really is no effort to roast a chicken, so I told my husband I’d make him fried chicken if we could do something quick and easy Wednesday night for dinner.

A note on product: the meat we buy is delivered from a local co-op called Walden Local Meat. Their animals are pasture- and humanely raised and come from local family farms, which is important to me. They only have chicken during part of the year and it’s a treat to get a whole bird.

If you live in the Boston area , their website is http://waldenlocalmeat.com, and I recently discovered that they sell their meat at the Natural Food Exchange in Reading, MA. They are a really great service and will deliver to your home or office within their range, for a very fair price. They come all the way out to my little town of Essex, and I don’t have to go to the grocery store.

I also pick up vegetables and other items from Farmers to You, http://farmerstoyou.com. They are based out of Vermont and have pick up locations all over the Boston area. They are a year round service for Vermont sourced vegetables, dairy, grains, meat, etc. You order weekly, can choose what you want and pick it up on the designated day.

I digressed a little because I used products from both these sources to make my fried chicken. Ok, onto the recipe. But first a little tease…

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FRIED CHICKEN

Supplies to make this go smoothly (low mess): gallon sized plastic zipper bags, a dutch oven or cast iron frying pan, a candy thermometer, plastic gloves and 2 baking racks and a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

1 quart of oil for frying (I used vegetable oil, you can use shortening)
One whole chicken, broken down into 10 pieces
*I cut the breast in half because the front of the breast cooks at a different rate than the back end
**you can buy parts if you don’t want to mess with a whole chicken or just like legs and thighs, etc.

Buttermilk soak:
1 pint buttermilk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

Dredge:
2 cups of flour that has been seasoned with:
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika

THE NIGHT BEFORE FRYING:
Combine the buttermilk, salt, pepper and paprika in a zipper bag. Add the chicken parts and seal the bag shut. Mash everything around so the chicken is well coated. Place in fridge overnight.

THE NEXT DAY:
Set up your work area. I try to work next to the stovetop. I place a kitchen towel under a cooling rack near the dredging station, so I have a spot for the chicken after it’s been dredged in the flour.

Mix the dredge with the flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a gallon zipper bag or large bowl. You could make this GF by using rice flour in place of the AP flour.

This is a good place to use gloves!!! Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and give it a shake as you take it out of the bag to remove excess buttermilk. Place in the flour and give it a good toss. You may have to do this in a couple batches so you don’t crowd the bag too much. Place coated chicken on the cooling rack and allow to set up for about 20 minutes. (During this time you can make your sides)

Place the oil into the dutch oven or frying pan. If using a frying pan, make the oil about an inch or so deep. Heat the oil to 375. Preheat your oven to 400.

Fry chicken in batches, being careful not to overcrowd your pan. Fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Once fried, place on second cooling rack, which should be on a baking sheet and place in the oven. I like to cook the thicker pieces first and I use the oven as backup to ensure the chicken is cooked through. The buttermilk soak will ensure juicy chicken, so you don’t need to worry about it drying out.

Serve with mashed potatoes and greens.

Will serve 4-5 people or my friend, Kevin. haha

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