~Post by Mandy Brooks
This past week I attempted to make fried chicken. But not just any old fried chicken – John Besh fried chicken. I was cavalier in my planning – not only did I think I would make delicious fried chicken from his new cookbook, My Family Table, but I decided that I would make BOTH, that’s right y’all, BOTH fried chicken recipes in the book and then have a taste test.
What’s that they say about the best laid plans?
Due to a very unfortunate & slightly traumatic incident with an unlucky possum in our backyard, our cooking plans were led askew for a few hours by my and my sisters’ understandable hysteria. After a very clumsy & tentative burial for our little dead friend, we celebrated his life with a bottle of wine. Once we had eulogized enough and our teeth were purple as a possum tail, we went to work in the kitchen.
First, we made the Drop Biscuits. These biscuits were easy easy easy to make – and this is coming from someone who has had the luck of a black cat with a broken mirror when it comes to making any kind of bread. They were perfect little browned sidekicks to my chicken. Seriously, they took about 10 minutes to prepare and 12 minutes to cook – impress your friends! (A sidenote: I think if you were to add a little bit of cheese, the biscuits would be even more out of sight than they already are.)
When we realized that it was almost midnight and all we had to speak of were little biscuits & purple teeth, we decided we might have to scale down our menu if we wanted to eat that night. Ah, the best laid plans…. So we decided to just go with John Besh’s Grandma’s Fried Chicken. In the recipe, he suggests buying a chicken and cutting it into 8 parts – but y’all that sounded hard to me! And messy. So, we improvised and bought raw chicken tenders (and legs because you gotta!) to cook with instead. Less fuss & fewer bones. I soaked the chicken in buttermilk, because John Besh’s grandma said that the lactose in the milk would make the chicken more moist once cooked.
We fried that chicken, y’all!
We didn’t have a thermometer to gauge whether the oil was exactly 325 degrees, but I did learn a long time ago that if you put the stick end of a wooden spoon into a pot of boiling oil and it bubbles around the spoon, the oil is ready to cook with. We followed the rest of the recipe precisely and we ended up with delicious fried chicken.
My Family Table is filled with many simple yet sophisticated and aged to perfection recipes – from breakfast to dessert. A wonderful cookbook for anyone interested in expanding their culinary repertoire and perfecting pie crust or learning how to properly de-bone a fish.
We promise no possums were intentionally harmed in the creation of this blog post.