Yes its true, I made fried chicken for Stantastic before, but that time was last minute, a desperate attempt to fill the sunday night soul food void in our bellies when all soul fooderies had shuttered for the evening. This time was premeditated. Or at least thought of while Danielle was out and about, and available to stop and get collard greens, eggs, and buttermilk. The other impetus for a Stantastic East Southern Feast Redux was the Paula Deen Southern Cooking Bible that was given to me as a gift by a special guitar student. Who doesn’t love the gift of clogged arteries and secret diabetes? While the recipes for mashed potatoes and braised greens came from Deen, I opted to again use the Bromberg Brother’s recipe for northern fried chicken. The appeal of finally trying out the matzah meal as breading outweighed (pun intended) the concept of cooking entirely fer y’all.
We’ve been making a lot of chicken recently, in part because of these 3 lb whole chickens that can be purchased–at whole foods of all places–for around $5. While this is a steal in terms of dollars per chicken part, there is the added labor of dissembling the foul. The importance of this task for fried chicken is compacted by the need to keep the skin on each piece, and also to try not to have a bunch of shattered bone in the meat. I readied myself with about five instructional youtube videos, and was able to perform by far my cleanest butchering, and maintain the skin on each piece. The wingtips and the carcass promptly went into the oven to begin the process of gravy making.
At this point I’d like to quote Paula Deen:
Seriously, we had to try this and you know what? It was pretty good. It turns out that bacon grease and melted butter, with salt and a little bit of hot sauce makes for a delicious, nutritious drink. The remaining pot liquor is still in the fridge, and I may go get a mug full of it right now!
We Also made the ‘Buttery Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes’ from the SCB, and they were pretty outstanding as well, I think we used a bit less butter than she called for, not for health reasons but because we ran out. You know your making a good meal when you run out of butter.
I’ve been all about making gravies since getting a crash course in dripping based sauce making from our good friend David. He did spout some hogwash about acids and emulsifiers, but the main take away was just to keep stirring adding and tasting until it tastes good. The Bromberg Bros. method of roasting the wingtips and carcass for an hour before simmering it in stock seemed to work great, as did they’re suggestion to flavor it with a boat load of thyme, this could be the Colonel’s secret weapon.
Occasional Stantastic collaborator and Great Chili Cook-off runner up Alex Ruck added a salad to contrast the hedonism of the rest of the meal. The salad ended up with a couple of fried eggs and potatoes in it, because who can let hot frying oil just sit there and not deep fry anything?