I’m a Southern girl. I was born in Texas and have lived here all my life. Three different cities (born and raised in Tyler, college to now in Austin with one year held hostage in College Station while Jensen was in veterinary school) but Texas only.
When you think of Southern cooking, what do you picture. BBQ? Fried food? It’s no wonder Southern states top the obesity list every year.
Case in Point:
Since we are headed to Boston in about a month and are going to a Red Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway and there are sure to be hotdogs and beer involved, I decided to look up what a Fenway hotdog is like. Turns out there are regional hotdogs just like the regional BBQ and sauces I’ve mentioned before. Chicago has one, NY another, Fenway has what’s called a Fenway Frank served in a New England-style bun (I’m not sure exactly what that is, but I’m excited to find out). Texas? Texas fries theirs. Of course 🙂 The Texas State Fair is famous for their corn dogs. Cornbread coated and fried “hotdog”. The Fair actually offers pretty much anything fried from cheesecake and Snickers to butter and beer (I have no idea, so don’t ask 🙂 ) The corn dogs are great, I have to admit. I prefer the battered and well-greased weeny to the in-a-bun one everytime. I’ll let ya know how the Fenway Frank stands up.
Really,though, I’m not much into fried. My mom always cooked pretty healthy growing up and I tend to think most things are just as good in a non-fried version. Oven “fried” chicken (rolled around in buttermilk or egg whites, coated in something crushed and crispy like cornflakes, fiber one, nuts, or a combination and baked) is one of my favorites from childhood and oven sweet potato “fries” are often better to me than the real deep-fried variety. My mom did fry quail and that was a delicacy in our house. We only ate what dad had hunted himself and so we only got it a few times a year. All in moderation, though that particular dinner was always a gorge-fest. Hey, I said it was only a few times a year 🙂 It was the only thing she fried and to this day even the high-class restaurant quail dishes done with fancy sauces can’t compete.
Kelly (another born and bred Texan) and I have had the discussion before about what is truly better fried. She says okra and I used to agree. However, once discovering the wonders of roasted okra, I have to bail on that one. To me its chicken liver (groan if you want, but as we have established I am from the South) and quail.
With all of this background information, I bet you can guess what I did last night. I fried y’all!
Even though I have lived South of the Mason Dixon line all my life, I have never fried a thing. I am happy to indulge in a greasy goody on occasion outside of the home. Since we don’t go out to eat all the time, I order whatever I like at restaurants and consume anything that looks good at parties. However, I am health conscious in my own kitchen. We eat at home for 90% of our meals and that leaves our indulgent dinners out 100% guilt free.
Lastnight, though I decided to channel my inner Paula Dean a bit. I just have to stop and say I LOVE her! It feels like you’re getting a big hug just to hear her talk. Her recipes don’t touch healthy with a ten foot pole, but when in need of something truly decadent, they are the way to go. She’s my go-to when I want a full-fat, holiday worthy dish.
Anyway, back to lastnight. I did use a Cooking Light recipe for the fried chicken, but it was still fried. Fried and relatively healthy, so WIN/WIN.
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half or 1 thigh and 1 drumstick)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned
- 2 bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
- 2 chicken drumsticks, skinned
- 1/4 cup peanut oil
1. Sift together first 6 ingredients; place mixture in a large zip-top plastic bag. Sprinkle salt evenly over chicken. Add chicken, one piece at a time, to bag; seal. Shake bag to coat chicken. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour. Place chicken on a cooling rack; place rack in a jelly-roll pan. Reserve remaining flour mixture. Loosely cover chicken; chill 1 1/2 hours. Let chicken stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Return chicken, one piece at a time, to flour mixture, shaking bag to coat chicken. Discard excess flour mixture.
2. Heat peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 25 minutes or until done, carefully turning every 5 minutes.
3. Line a clean cooling rack with brown paper bags; arrange chicken in a single layer on bags. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Kitchen Notes: The key to success with this recipe is even heat. If the oil gets too hot, the chicken may brown too quickly before fully cooking. You can lower the heat, or brown the chicken on the stovetop and then cook in a 350° oven until done. If the oil is not hot enough, the chicken will absorb too much of it. Omit spices in the breading, if you prefer.
- Calories: 245 Fat: 10.1g (sat 2g,mono 4.1g,poly 3g)
- Protein: 28.2g Carbohydrate: 9g Fiber: 0.8g
- Cholesterol: 87mg Iron: 1.8mg Sodium: 240mg
- Calcium: 17mg
Cooking Light, JUNE 2009
It was more like a crispy crust than the thick breading on traditional fried foods, but it was yummy and got a two thumbs up from my completely Southern through and through husband. It was incredibly juicy. Roasted okra as a side completed the meal
What’s your favorite indulgence or comfort food?/ Do you think anything is better fried?