We love to drive out to the foothills, away from city lights, with our chairs and a bottle of wine in hand! This year we decided that we could see just as much from the hills behind our house. We planned to meet friends and eat a late dinner while we gazed at the sky.
I decided to make Ina's Oven-Fried Chicken and nobody was disappointed! Her Oven-Fried Chicken recipe is featured in Barefoot Contessa Family Style. There are so many wonderful recipes inside! If you don't have it in your cookbook library, I would recommend you consider adding it.
2 chickens (3 pounds each), cut in 8 serving pieces
1 quart buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil or vegetable shortening
Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl and pour the buttermilk over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Take the chicken out of the buttermilk and coat each piece thoroughly with the flour mixture. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot to a depth of 1-inch and heat to 360 degrees F on a thermometer.
Working in batches, carefully place several pieces of chicken in the oil and fry for about 3 minutes on each side until the coating is a light golden brown (it will continue to brown in the oven). Don't crowd the pieces. Remove the chicken from the oil and place each piece on a metal baking rack set on a sheet pan. Allow the oil to return to 360 degrees F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is fried, bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is no longer pink inside. Serve hot.
We weren't alone in the foothills, quite a few folks drove by looking for a place to watch the show. They all had the same question, "Have you been seeing anything?" Yes, we had! We saw tiny short meteors and then some really spectacular bright long falling stars...wow! What fun.
The chicken was perfect for our late night picnic. It is great hot or cold. It was tender and delicious. I pretty much follow any recipe exactly as written the first time but we do not like to leave the skin on chicken...who needs those calories?! So, I took the skin off of half of the chicken. I was pleased to see that the coating held equally well on either. Next time, I will add a few spices, garlic salt/powder and a little tarragon, to the flour mixture. I can hardly wait to make this one again!
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