Food, Recipes

From the Chronicle Kitchen
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Mommy’s Summer Fried Chicken from The Martha’s Vineyard Table

This dish is a classic in the African American repertoire. It’s what my family ate on the road and on picnics and at home on Sundays. When it comes to fried chicken, there are two basic types of cooks: the dredgers and the batterers. I’m a dredger, preferring the crunch of a crisp skin that is free of batter. This is my mother’s recipe. The Bell’s poultry seasoning is not optional, as other brands will have a different taste.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 frying chicken, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, cut into serving pieces
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup white cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons Bell’s poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Pour the oil to a depth of about 1 inch into a deep cast-iron skillet and heat to 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer. While the oil is heating, combine the flour, cornmeal, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper in a brown paper bag and shake to mix well. Place the chicken pieces, a few at a time, in the bag and shake well to coat evenly. Remove from the bag and shake off the excess flour mixture.

Working in batches, place the chicken pieces in the skillet and fry, turning the pieces as they brown, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until crispy and cooked through . To check for doneness, prick the pieces with a fork in the thickest part; the juices should run clear with no trace of blood. Transfer to paper towels to drain and keep warm in a low oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Note: The chicken is traditionally drained on pieces of brown paper bag, but paper towels will do just fine.

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Jessica B. Harris

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