Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Southern Fried Goodness

Being a Californian I sort of consider southern food to be ethnic. While not as exotic as Thai or Indian cuisine, food from America's south is uniquely crispy.

Of course, as a child, I ate fried chicken many times, my grandmother is from Texas after all. How many times have I heard the story of her mother (my great-grandmother) going out to the hen house, killing a chicken (yes, she did that herself), plucking out its feathers (and that too) and cooking it (that I can handle!). Although I am quite sure my life is nothing like the life led by my great-grandmother I find that I get a lot of inspiration from my ancestors, especially when it comes to food. I won't be wringing the necks of any chickens but I admire the way they ate and fed their children. Real food. Real ingredients. Time and preparation. I never met her but I am quite certain my great-grandmother never microwaved a T.V. dinner or made Top Ramen for her kids.

That brings me to this: A Recipe. It is not Nam's recipe nor her mother's, this is one I did on my own and I am quite pleased with it. I don't call it fried chicken, rather it is homemade chicken strips. It doesn't call for anything fancy and requires no special equipment, oh yes, and you don't have to kill your own chicken, unless of course you want to.

Here you go, readers. I love this one, Kyle loves this one, my mom and dad love this one. Freya is lukewarm on it, apparently no one told her that, as an American, she is required to love all things deep fried.

Joan's Homemade Chicken Strips:

1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders (Preferably organic and pasture raised - this is the only kind of meat I buy, please don't spend your food dollar on factory farm chicken!)
1 egg (again, pastured raised - I get mine from a neighbor down the street, hands down the best eggs I have ever had)
1 Tbsp of organic, whole milk yogurt (Strauss, can't say enough good stuff about them, or make your own!)
Whole wheat flour (enough to cover the chicken pieces)
Coconut oil
Spices - sea salt, pepper, paprika to taste

Okay, when I do this I like a stations. First I set the chicken out and open it up so it is ready. Next to that I crack my egg in a medium sized bowl and add the yogurt. Mix them together. Next to that I use a regular sized dinner plate and put about four small handfuls of flour.

Once you have that set up you will need a large skillet (cast iron or any large skillet). I have used a large pot before since I don't have a deep frier since it kind of simulates one. Turn the heat on your stove to medium high. Spoon out large spoonfuls of the coconut oil into the pan allowing it to melt. It should be about one quarter inch deep.

Next, place the chicken in the pan. You may have to do this in several batches depending on how big the pieces are and how big your pan is. Sprinkle with the spices while cooking. It takes about seven minutes per side to be cooked. I always end up cutting a piece to check. The meat should be white and any juices should be clear.

That is it, people! These things are amaze. You can dip them in BBQ sauce, homemade ranch sauce, or even raw honey. You can make a bunch and put them in freezer bags so they are ready for an afternoon snack or a quick meal. Just turn your oven to 400 degrees and put them on a cookie sheet for 15-20 minutes.

I don't even have to tell you that coconut oil is a healthy fat and that these babies are vastly superior to anything created at the Golden Arches. I honestly don't believe McDonald's is fit for human consumption, especially for children!

I hope you try this recipe. It is truly my own creation and one I am very proud of. Serve it up with sourdough biscuits, steamed greens, potatoes, and a beaming smile!

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