Monday, March 21, 2011

Fried Chicken, in milk, c1923

I haven't written about food, I went on vacation. We camped in the desert in New Mexico, just outside Carlsbad. It was heaven. Yeah, I'm a desert rat. I ate Oryx and Elk, I can't tell you how delicious they are.

I cooked on nothing but charcoal for a week, in a single cast iron pan. By the end of the week, the host and camp ranger were popping by for breakfast tacos. I love that. Apparently I was good at it.

I had great plans to come back to write copious amounts about camping cooking. Um, no. I made the faux pas of hunting through antique stores in Roswell, yes, home of the aliens, and came up for air with an old cookbook and couple of sweet kitchen finds! Cookery books and cookery paraphernalia are the things I look for on any foray off the beaten path.

As a result of the finds, I'm solidly back in old school land, so bear with me. Look at what I found, a gem of a tin/enamel washbasin bowl and have used it every day, numerous times a day, since we got back a few days ago. I use it to make bread (twice) and tonight it was the vessel in which the chicken was floured for the recipe I made up, and then washed and held the spuds. The recipe is inspired by the 1923 Chicago Evening American CookBook I found in the antique store. Here's tonights dinner.

Joint a chicken ($4.00 for a 4.5lb bird from my local HEB) then salt and pepper it, flour it heavily and let it sit while you melt a blob of butter in a large dutch oven and melt a couple of blobs of shortening in a high sided frying pan.

Toss the chicken around in the flour again then fry it quickly, in batches, just until it's brown. We aren't trying to cook the chicken here, we're merely adding the beauty.
*the tiny square of bread in the first frypan shot is how I test oil. When the shortening melts, throw in a piece of bread, when it's brown, the oil is hot enough to fry!

When it's all fried up, toss the fat from the pan and add a little milk, salt and (obviously) loads of pepper. Whisk like crazy and boil it down a few minutes. Add it to the chicken in the pot, pouring down the sides.
When the liquid is in the pot, cover loosely with foil, pop the lid on and put the dutch oven in the oven at 300 degrees, leave it for 50 minutes.

Oh look how my wonderful new tin basin can be washed out and used to hold and wash potatoes. Yes, I love the dish! OH OH I also found THIS little gem. A VERY retro Pyrex oval covered dish in pink with crazy daisy's on it. Oh retro kitchen kitsch heaven. I nuked a can of corn with some butter, sugar and salt on it.

Ok, 50 minutes in, this is looking pretty good!!
I removed the lid, raised the temperature to 350 and let it go another 15 minutes while I mashed my potatoes. When the time was up, I removed the chicken to a casserole with foil to keep warm and boiled down the sauce, whisking like crazy. I cheated and added a drop of cream but you could add milk or nothing. I ended up having to add a little water to thin it. It needed only a smidgen of salt and pepper to finish it off.

*I absolutely know there should be something green on the plate but dammit, sometimes I just want corn :)

Ok now, I know I say this a lot but seriously, this is crazy good. The chicken is moist and tender. It needs to be tried. No, really. It's knife and fork chicken OR it's finger food chicken. The meat is barely holding onto the bone. Even the breast is juicy and, well, seriously, make this. I can't wait for someone to invite me to a potluck. I'm bringing this!


1 comment:

  1. Great article. I love all the pictures because I'm very visual. Only problem is now I'm starving!