Sunday, December 2, 2007

don't try this at home

Fried chicken. Who doesn't love it? Ok, animal rights activists, vegans and vegetarians probably don't. But what about free-range, sustainably harvested , small family-farm-raised, pan-fried chicken? Doesn't that sound great?

But frying chicken at home? Not encouraged. Like smoking indoors. For a few minutes of satisfaction, it's just not worth subjecting your family to the grime and aftertaste. Warrior Ant Press set out to find if it was possible to create the taste of homemade fried chicken without the grease, feathers, and fry daddy.

Here's how we did it.

Procure some chicken from a local farm. Because we are fond of drumsticks, we got ours from Drumstick Farm, a specialty outfit that produces only drumsticks and wings for sale to the public, the rest of the chicken being distributed solely to a fine dining establishment that utilizes only the breast and thigh meat but that is another story altogether. Also from said local farm we obtained some heavy cream. Only chickens were harmed in the frying of this chicken. No lard was used.

Deep-fried chicken without the fryer

For this you will need.

10 chicken legs (or 1 cut frying chicken) raised on Proust, caviar, and progressive politics.

1 cup unpasteurized, heavy cream from folks who read Proust to their chickens.

2 cups Martha White self-rising cornmeal (facilitates the intersection of high and low culture).

Salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and paprika to taste.

Several tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Wash, drain, and dry the chicken legs (or parts). Bring to room temp.
Blend together well the cornmeal, salt, pepper, and spices.
Pass the chicken pieces through the heavy cream and into the cornmeal spice mixture. Coat all sides evenly then place the chicken pieces in a casserole dish coated liberally with olive oil.

Bake the chicken, uncovered at 350 for ~30 minutes. Turn the chicken at least once to facilitate browning and crisping of the coating. Remove, let stand for a few minutes, and serve with mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, and lots of sweet iced tea.

What you will discover when you are finished is that although you may have prepared an adequate dinner, tasty, not altogether without some nod to sustainability, it will be no substitute for pan-fried chicken. There isn't one. Except fried chicken.

Recommendation. If you really want the flavor of pan-fried chicken you'll have to go to Stroud's. Strouds, whose motto is "We choke our own chickens", and who has never meet a chicken joke they didn't like, is a James Beard Award recipient. Not bad for a restaurant that only serves fried chicken. And Stroud's which closed its flagship store to make way for progress (read a road through the middle of it) has announced plans to open a new restaurant in Fairway, Kansas by the end of the year. Fairway, as the name implies, is a fair place, if you're white and middle class - sorta like Iowa which also loves pan-fried chicken and a good chicken joke. Here's one.

Q. Why is the Brownback campaign like a flock of Rhode Island Reds.
A. They both laid eggs in Iowa.

green eggs and lamb


Bud said...

One correction MOI. There is one chicken joke that Stroud's didn't like at all. I thought you were there when I told it. About 15 years ago.

John "Jerk" LaPointe Navarre said...

i'm making this as soon as i figure out how to say "cornmeal" in spanish. i keep getting directed to corn flour and that did not help me make fried calamari last night.

Bud said...

harina de maiz
Is your chicken spanish?

m.o.i.@ warrior ant press said...

You mean this joke?

Joke teller to unsuspecting joke recipient (in a soft voice, soft enough so they have to lean in close to you)"How do ask a deaf person if they want to buy a chicken?""

Joke recipient (in normal voice). "I don't know, how DO you ask a deaf person if they want to buy a chicken?"

Joke teller (shouting very loudly directly in face of joke recipient). DO YOU WANT TO BUY A CHICKEN!!!!!!

If you tell this joke in the very, very, noisy waiting room of Stroud's, you can subsitute "How do you ask if deaf person if they want to choke a chicken." in place of buy a chicken.

Gets em every time.

Bud said...

That is the joke. I thought they were going to make me leave.