Scott threatened to publish this email unless I did first. It was in answer to his IM’d question about how I had made chicken for a church pot-luck we went to one evening back when S&S were mid-sized munchkins. The chicken went fast. Which was kinda funny, given my, uh, homemaking skills. Especially, compared to the competition. So…
OK, Scott, yeah, I remember that chicken thing and the church pot luck or sleepover or whatever.
And, the way that chicken was made is a method I learned from Trudi. Probably straight out of the South. Haven’t made chicken like that for years. Always just toss it in the oven and bake it now – like right now, as we speak.
Anyway, the method is to simply put some flour mixed with random spices in a paper bag, toss the chicken pieces in – might be easiest a couple pieces at a time – and shake. Shake and bake is an actual grocery store product that probably does this. Idea is to get the chicken completely covered by the spicy coating. The flour takes care of the “completely” part of that requirement.
Then, heat up some oil – I forget what kind I used, but it could have been olive oil. It could have been a mixture, seeing as how I have always had several types of oil. Lot of oil. I am not sure that the oil doesn’t cover the chicken in the pan. But probably not completely. So you must flip the pieces at least once. This stuff wasn’t deep fried. I used the iron pan I got for 7 bucks when I was at Evergreen. Best 7 bucks I ever spent. I really appreciate iron. Iron has great heat sink action, too, so the oil doesn’t cool down when you toss the chicken in. You may need to flow the chicken through the pan and oil if you have a lot of chicken, BTW. Not too much chicken cooking at one time.
The oil must be hot. Otherwise it will saturate the coating, if not the chicken.
The chicken will really splatter if there is any liquid on it, which the flour pretty much takes away. But the pan has a cover to help with splattering. Also, the cover keeps the heat in while it’s cooking. Which doesn’t take too long, but it’s gotta be cooked all through, of course. I forget how long it took. Experiment using consistent temperature, amount of oil/chicken to predict in future. Just slice half way in to the biggest piece every so often to see what’s up.
Tongs are needed to handle the chicken – putting in and taking out of pan. Otherwise when you put it in, you’ll splash that oil all over and maybe burn the bejeezus out of your hand. Only alternative to tongs for taking it out is a fork, and that’s kinda bad ’cause it puts big holes in the chicken. Also, tongs might be longer than a fork. Safer.
And that’s it.
Well, I pulled ’em at random. Used to use rosemary, maybe a lemon pepper, “spicy pepper” (a spice in the stores here), garlic pepper. Maybe back then I used cayenne. Certainly would now. Let me look at the cupboard. … … … Yeah. Thyme, basil, allspice, ginger … Hell, “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”. Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson.
Whatever spices that say on the side of the bottle that they are for poultry.
Cayenne, by the way, can be slathered on before cooking compared to how much you need at eat-time. Cooking mellows cayenne out a lot.
Most of those “peppers” have salt in them, but you gotta have enough salt. People love salt.
Also, you can’t cook sugar ’cause it burns. I think that’s why the top ramen spice thingee is put in after the noodles are cooked. Sugar is the secret ingredient in top ramen, it turns out. If you fake your own top ramen flavor packet and leave out the sugar, you’ll be disappointed. Anyway, you might be able to toss sugar in some time in the process. Try it from the top to see if it doesn’t burn. Whatever. Sugar, like salt, always sells.
Oh, and you can use more than 1 paper bag, with different assortments of spices.
Feed it to only hungry people.