Edna Lewis's Southern Pan-Fried Chicken (more or less)
- 1.5 kg of free range chicken pieces
- 1 quart buttermilk (4 cups)
- 500 grams lard (or peanut oil)
- 115 grams unsalted butter
- 1 thick slice of country ham cut ½ into inch strips
- 1 cup standard flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- teaspoon ground black pepper
Brine the chicken pieces in a mixture of sea salt and water (1/4 cup to 4 cups of water) for 8 hours. Drain the brined chicken, return to the bowl and add the buttermilk, cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Drain chicken on a wire rack, discard buttermilk.
Prepare the fat for frying by putting lard (or peanut oil), butter and ham into a heavy skillet. Cook over low heat for 30-45 minutes, skimming as needed, until the butter stops foaming the ham is brown. Remove ham from the skillet.
Just before frying heat pan over med-high until fat mixture reaches 170C.
Prepare the dredge by blending the flour, cornflour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or on wax paper. Dredge the chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, and then pat well to remove excess flour.
Slip a few pieces of chicken in the hot fat (don't overcrowd). Cook for 8-10 minutes on each side until chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Drain thoroughly on a wire rack or on crumpled paper towels.
Fried chicken is delicious eaten hot, warm, at room temperature or even cold.