My ex once pointed out to me that it’s likely your life changes more between the ages of 20 and 30 than at any other point in your life. So far, that’s been true for me. There have been bumps in the road for sure, but I’ve learned a lot too.
Like you get to make your own traditions.
You can take whatever your family did when you were growing up, and put a twist on it that makes it your own.
Take birthdays for example. We were not a go out to dinner family. No, no, no. On birthdays in my family, the birthday person got to pick what was for dinner. Year in and year out, my choices were spaghetti pie, broccoli, and Grandma Glass of Milk’s lemon cake.
When my big day rolls around this year, however, I’m going to have to make a choice. Do I play it safe, and stick with tradition? Or do I start a new birthday tradition now that I’m out on my own. Fried chicken birthdays? Could those be a thing?
My husband’s birthday was earlier in December, and his dinner of choice was fried chicken. A friend of ours is famous the world over for her fried chicken. After hearing about it for years, we finally got to enjoy some for ourselves the evening before Thanksgiving. This particular friend happens to be a Barefoot Contessa fan as well, and one bite into the chicken, I knew that’s whose recipe it had to be. Because this is comfort food done right.
The skin is so crispy you can hear the crunch from across the room. But the meat is just as juicy as if you roasted it in the oven. Which, actually, you did. Because we’re talking about Ina. And it’s not an Ina recipe if it doesn’t get roasted in the oven. If you think you don’t like fried chicken, you do, you just haven’t had homemade fried chicken yet. This is not fast food. In fact, it’s the opposite, as it takes a bit of time and effort to put on the table. That’s how you’ll show the people you make it for that you love them. Upon first bite, you will close your eyes. They may even roll back into your head a bit. You will sigh. And you will proclaim this the best fried chicken you have ever sunk your teeth into. Then you know you’re a convert.
You will lick your spicy fingers, swab at your napkin, and go back for bite number 2. And numbers 3, 4, 5…
To make fried chicken for 6, you will need:
A candy thermometer. Don’t fry without one. You need to know when the oil has reached a certain temperature, and then keep it there throughout the process.
- 2 chickens, cut into 8 pieces (Butchering skills leave a lot to be desired? Grab 4 or 5 pounds of bone-in, skin-on, chicken pieces at the store)
- 1 qt. buttermilk
- 2 C flour
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 T black pepper
- 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- vegetable oil or shortening
The night before you want to make the chicken, place the pieces in a large bowl and pour buttermilk over top. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
Combine flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne in bowl. Remove chicken pieces from buttermilk, and dredge in flour mixture, till well coated. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour oil in large, heavy-bottomed skillet, to a depth of one inch. Use candy thermometer to monitor oil temperature. Heat oil till it’s 360 degrees. Then, carefully place chicken, one piece at a time, in the oil. Don’t crowd the pan. Cook chicken for three minutes on each side, then transfer to a cookie sheet with a baking rack set inside. When all the chicken has been fried, and set on the rack, transfer to oven, and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. Serve hot.