“Fried chicken just tend to make you feel better about life” ~ Minnie ‘The Help’
This couldn’t be more true or at least make you feel better about the shit day you’re having. I grew up under my grandmother’s apron and learned real quick the healing powers of a home cooked meal that involves chicken. One (in my family at least) is chicken and dumplin’s and that’s when it was cold and she had to feed a mess of men from working in the oil field but the other one was fried chicken. Now she had two ways to fry her chicken: 1-in the oven and 2-in a frying pan. When she fried in the cast iron it was usually just for our family or just a few people. But when she had a whole lot of people to feed and only had a just enough time for chicken to get done, she did it in the oven.
Ladies-Drop the Shake N Bake!
Here it is, her secret to oven fried chicken. She actually used Crisco lard and actually fried it in the oven! I know, it sounds like a grease fire in the oven waiting to happen but it works and with less of a mess to clean up (stove top, cupboards, back splash…etc) and specially if you have a self cleaning oven. So pull out your grandmother’s coating recipe for fried chicken and try this.
You will need:
- Deep casserole dish (the bigger the better)
- 3-4 cups of Crisco (blue can)
- Flour and spices of your choice
- Wash of your choice (eggs and water, water, milk, or buttermilk)
- Chicken legs and thighs
- Courage to try something new
Now you want to preheat your oven to 375°. While the oven is preheating set up your flour and wash station and prep your chicken (pat dry and what not). Grab your Crisco and plop in 3-4 cups of lard. It really depends on the size of your casserole dish but you want enough (melted) to come 1/2 way up the side of your chicken. Start out with your best guess but don’t worry-you can always add more or take a little out but once you use your dish you’ll know how much lard to use from here on out. Place the casserole dish in the oven to allow the lard to melt and come up to temp to fry the chicken.
While the lard is melting-coat your chicken. Another secret, if you want crispier chicken add 1/8 of a teaspoon of corn starch. It doesn’t sound like much but a little goes a long way. When the casserole dish has a pool of melted goodness add your chicken. Carefully slide out the oven rack or pull out the casserole dish and place on oven top for the next part. To test if your grease is hot enough for the sizzle just sprinkle in a little flour. IF it starts to sizzle and float around, you’re good. Add your chicken carefully so you don’t splash grease on yourself. Slide back into the oven and walk away. About 1/2 way until the chicken is done, turn. When done just pull out the chicken and place on paper towels to drain or a rack. Sprinkle with salt while it’s still hot. Another tip: With your leftover grease you can spoon a little out and add to a pot to make gravy. So much YUM and done with little effort. There is no babysitting, turning, or standing over a hot stove.
Having a bad day and need to feel better, fry chicken!