Country Fried Chicken
- 2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1 (4-pound) broiler/fryer chicken, cut into individual parts and wings discarded
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 3 tbs salt
- 3 tbs freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbs lemon pepper
- 2 tbs cayenne pepper
- Vegetable shortening
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk, mixed with 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbs all-purpose flour
- 1 tbs freshly ground black pepper
- Combine seasonings for chicken and buttermilk in a large container. Add chicken, toss to coat, and refrigerate overnight to a day.
- Drain chicken in a colander and dredge in flour. Set aside 2-3 minutes.
- Heat enough shortening in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet to 325 degrees F. Add thighs to the center, and breasts and legs to the outer part. Fry 10-12 minutes on each side or until golden brown and internal temperature of thighs is 180 degrees F.
- Remove from pan and drain on a cooling rack. Cover loosely with foil and set aside.
- Pour out all fat except 2 tbs from pan and place over medium high heat. Add all-purpose flour to pan and whisk continuously until mixture turns blond.
- Deglaze pan with broth and whisk continuously until liquid has reduced by 2/3.
- Add milk mixture and pepper; bring to a boil. Cook, whisking occasionally, until liquid has reduced to 1 cup and is thickened. If gravy is too thick, add 1/4 cup milk at a time.
- Serve chicken smothered with cream gravy.
Resist the urge to drain on paper towels or brown paper bags. There is logic to using a cooling rack instead of these. See, the paper absorbs the oil, and instead of moving it away, it holds it up right against the food, thus making it greasy.
Don't try to put the chicken into a warm oven while you make the gravy. Since they are encased in that starch, they will stay warm a good 20 minutes. And if you have a gas oven, especially don't.