I’m on a kick of trying to cook things I’ve never cooked before. A couple times a month, I’ll venture onto the Internet to collect bits of recipes and amalgamate them into something tasty (I hope). Sometimes I have help.*
Meatloaf wasn’t a winner, but then again, I’m not fond of meatloaf. That made it a little tougher to figure out what to do with it.
Beef stew was better. Again, I’m not a big fan of it, and it took forever to cook. I should have added more flour or cornstarch to the broth to make it thicker, but tossing some sriracha on the leftovers made everything better – as sriracha will.
The big success in recent months was fried chicken. I was absurdly happy and proud of the final product.
And it was fun to make. First, I got to melt shortening in my dutch oven – score 1 for using the dutch oven for more than soups and pot pie AND score 1 for using shortening for more than cake frosting.
I mixed flour with a variety of seasonings. I know salt and pepper were in there. Probably something that starts with a “C,” like celery seed or cumin. I didn’t use red pepper flakes, but I thought about it. I may have crushed some rosemary leaves. My approach to herbs and spices for something like this is to spin the lazy-susan spice rack and pick things that I like and that I think will go together. Or that were mentioned in one of the many recipes I looked at.
I didn’t do a buttermilk marinade/bath because Mark Bittman didn’t.
I had a helper dredge the chicken through the seasoned flour after I rinsed each piece in water. Then I had fun lowering the pieces into the molten shortening. Thank you, Mr. Bittman for suggesting I put the cover on the dutch oven and saving myself stovetop-scrubbing time.
I used his timing for the chicken breasts and legs, too (when flour sizzles in the fat, chicken goes in for 7 minutes skin down, 7 minutes skin up, 5 minutes skin down again). The pot was a touch too full of chicken and I should have cooked it in batches, but I’m impatient and wanted everything to be done at the same time.
It looked like fried chicken! It tasted like fried chicken! The skin was golden and crunchy. The chicken was moist. Okay, it could have used a stronger seasoning mix, but I made fried chicken, y’all!
*I was chastised for not mentioning said help in my post about chicken soup when the chastiser had, in fact, help chop some vegetables. But not onions – chopping onions without the aid of a mechanical device makes him cry. Using the Cusinart hand blender’s chopper attachment, however, makes the onions into a paste. In any case, please note the chastiser helped with the soup (chopping veggies), the stew (pulverizing onions and chopping celery for a mire poix thing, and the fried chicken as mentioned above. Go back