Fried Chicken and Garlic Mashed Potatoes

I rarely indulge in this because it’s fried, but always satisfying when I do.

Fried Chicken is not difficult to make; the only secret is the coating, oil temperature, and the art of covering the chicken while it fries.  The gravy is the secret, and requires your own special touch to come out just right.

Coating the Chicken before Frying:  I like to use white flower mixed with salt and pepper in one dish; and beaten raw eggs in another dish.  It’s best to use chicken parts with the skin on, for the best fried chicken.

Heat a skillet with about 1/2 cup or more of vegetable oil; making sure not to get the oil too hot or not hot enough.  When you place the chicken in the oil, it will need to sizzle, and pop only a little.  If the grease is too hot, it will cause the chicken to cook unevenly, possibly burning the outside before the inside is fully cooked.

After the chicken is clean and dry, dip it in the egg and then roll it in the flower mix. When the oil has reached a good temperature, begin frying the chicken, turning it occasionally.  I always cut into my chicken in a conspicuous place to make sure it’s cooked all the way through before removing it from the pan.  Covering the chicken while it fries makes the chicken more moist and sometimes causes the coatings to fall off or become less crunchy because of the cover traps the moisture in.  It does make the chicken taste better, just less crunchy, so it’s up to you if you want to cover it.

Mashed Potatoes:  I use either Russet or Red Potatoes for these.  Cut them into quarters, add them to boiling water.  Cook until tender and mashable; you don’t want to overcook or undercook them, but get them to a point where a fork can cut right through them easily before draining them from the water.

Prepare a clove of chopped garlic.  Heat a saucepan with a few tablespoons of butter or margarine and add the garlic; sauteeing until the garlic melts down.

Add the butter and a 1/2 cup of milk to potatoes.  I can’t give you an exact measurement of butter, milk, and potatoes; you will have to guesstimate since this is the art of cooking, but if you’re cooking 5 potatoes, you might start with 1/2 cup of milk and however much butter you like, keeping your waist and cholesterol in mind.

Some people whip their potatoes with a Cake Beater; I just use a fork, adding more milk and more butter until I get what I feel like is the right consistency.  I prefer fluffy potatoes with some little pieces not fully mixed in.  You don’t want watery potatoes, nor do you want the consistency of a potato salad; you want it in the middle.

Gravy:  This is always fun and never turns out the same for me since I don’t cook this dish often; it’s always just adding and mixing until it looks and tastes right.  The leftover chicken grease should still be heated when you begin.  Take a handful of white flour, you can use the leftover flour that you used for the chicken.  Spread it across the grease evenly.  As it begins to get soaked up by the grease, use a whip to thin it out; make sure you have a cup of milk nearby, as it gets soaked up quickly.  The goal is to mix the right amount of flour, grease (chicken drippings) and milk, until it’s thick and creamy; not weighted down by grease or flour lumps.  It might take some practice, so start off slowly with the flour and milk, adding a little at a time until it looks right.  After you’ve added the flour and milk turn the heat down to low to let it cook slightly.  If it cools down to quickly, it will thicken up, so it’s really a challenge to find the perfect mix of temperature, flour, and grease.

I would add a vegetable to this like steamed carrots, green beans, corn, or broccoli for a full meal.

I know the gravy sounds tough, but it gets easier the more you get used to working with flour, milk, and hot grease.  Once you figure it out, you can use it with bacon, sausage, and other meats for other meals.



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