Saturday, 22 September 2012

Cook the Books: Fried chicken for Home Cooking




I have slightly mixed feelings about Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, the current Cook the Books Club selection. I mean, I thoroughly enjoyed every page of it, and I can see myself going back to re-read bits often. Unfortunately, with the pleasure of discovering a new author and a new book came the discovery that Laurie Colwin died tragically young and I will never get to take her out for a drink.

And she really does come across as someone you'd like to take out for a drink. Warm, funny, down-to-earth with a sharp eye for human foibles. The food she writes about is very much home cooking - straightforward, accessible, inexpensive ingredients and things that people actually like eating. Which, sadly, is not the case in a lot of cook books.

It took me quite a while to decide what to make. I was intrigued by angostura bitters in a salad dressing, but I haven't been brave enough. I've made Black Cake before and it was utterly delicious, but not the sort of thing I want to have hanging around the house this far away from Christmas. I've been intrigued by the notion of Sussex Pond Pudding for years, but the weather just hasn't been playing ball with the idea of a boiled pudding.

Then I saw Felicity Cloake use Laurie Colwin's fried chicken recipe in her How to Cook Perfect... series, and decided that I would give it a go.

My previous best endeavours with fried chicken have all been in seasoned flour, rather than batter or breadcrumbs, so I felt OK about that bit. What was a total departure for me was shallow frying, crowding the pan and covering it.
Apparently having the pan slightly crowded is a good thing

But you know what? I am a total convert. The chicken (I used bone-in chicken thighs) was tender and moist inside, with a really properly crunchy outside. And because for the majority of the cook time the lid is on the pan, the whole house doesn't smell like frying. So I am very happy to send this to our book club host Deb as my contribution to the Home Cooking feast!

I did some fried pickles too

12 comments:

Barbara said...

My SIL used to make the best fried chicken I've ever had, and she kept the lid on. Definitely will have to try this method next time!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

One of my pet hates about frying is the greasy smell going everywhere, so this method sounds great!

Foodycat said...

Barbara - it seems to be the proper Southern way. And it is OK by me!

Leafy - it does make a real difference, I can definitely recommend it!

Mary said...

This looks delicious and I can see where the trapped steam in the pan would make for very moist fried chicken. I love fried chicken and wish I could have it more often. Alas, myhips love it also. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

hampers said...

I've always been a bit unsure about cooking fried chicken. The fact that they are cooking in oil, always bothered me. But after baking chicken so many times and finding it rather dry, I think I might try again. This recipe looks absolutely lovely!!

Simona said...

I also read with dismay that she died young. I am looking forward to reading the sequel. Glad to see you found not only a good read but also an excellent eat.

Foodycat said...

Mary - I have the hip problem too!

Hampers - well, you still have to watch it quite carefully and take precautions, but it is pretty safe this way.

Simona - yes, I must read the sequel!

Angie's Recipes said...

These fried chicken look PERFECT!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Glad you enjoyed the book. It is hard to think about her dying so young and with so much talent.

Your chicken looks amazing. I am seriously sitting here wishing I hadn't given up meat. That crispy skin is to die for. ;-)

Claudia said...

Yes, a shame she died so young. Hope it wasn't the fried chicken :) I've been wanting to try that recipe myself. Yours looks fabulous.

Kaye said...

Your chicken looks super. I've never could do this properly and gave up trying, but I may have to give it another shot now.

cantbelieveweate said...

I think I know why yours came out so pretty...more oil!! Seriously, your chicken came out looking absolutely divine! Excellently done!!

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