Blogs, Recipes

Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken

Edna Lewis, known as both the Grande Dame and Grande Doyenne of southern cooking, she was among the first African American women from the south to write a cookbook that did not hide the author’s true name, gender or race.

She was born and grew up in rural Virginia in an area called Freetown. She learned to cook from an extended family that included grandparents who had been enslaved. They didn’t have measuring spoons or scales, so instead, they used coins by piling baking powder on pennies, salt on dimes, and baking soda on nickels. This ensured the right amount was used in each dish. Interesting little tidbit: Lewis is said to have been able to tell when a cake was finished baking by listening to the sound it was making. 

She loved to use fresh, in season ingredients and characterized Southern food as fried chicken (pan, not deep-fried), pork, and fresh vegetables – most especially greens. She is a beacon of fried chicken perfection. Inspired by her pan-fried chicken, below is my pan-fried chicken recipe. 

She wrote and co-wrote four books which covered Southern cooking and life in a small community of freed slaves and their descendants. 

Dr. Edna Lewis passed away from cancer in 2006, at the age of 89. In 2014, she was  honored by the United State Postal Service with her very own postal stamp.

I encourage you to continue my research on Edna Lewis. She was an interesting lady with many talents! She actually made a dress for Marilyn Monroe!

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. Chicken, drumsticks and thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl or resealable plastic bag, place the chicken, garlic powder, paprika, red pepper flakes and dried Italian seasoning and shake to coat the chicken. Cover or seal and refrigerate 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Pour 1/2 to 1 inch of oil into a deep 12-inch cast-iron skillet and heat until a pinch of flour sizzles upon contact (about 360 degrees F). 

Set a wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and set aside. 

In a bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs. 

Place the flour, a pinch of salt and 1 ½ teaspoon ground pepper in a separate bowl. Whisk to combine. 

Dip the chicken in the egg and milk mixture, drain off the excess, then dredge in the flour, shaking off the excess.

Working in batches, place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet and fry for 3 minutes without moving. Continue to fry, turning the chicken every 1 to 2 minutes to ensure even browning and cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, 11 to 15 minutes. 

Drain on the rack and serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Recipes

Blackened Chicken Wings with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

These Blackened Chicken Wings are tender and juicy on the inside. The blackened seasoning spice mixture almost forms a crust on the chicken to seal in the juices. Of course, you have to serve the chicken wings with homemade Blue Cheese dressing! This easy homemade blue cheese dressing is better than anything you can buy at the store. 

My friend, Adam lives in Asheville, NC during one of this hikes he came across some Ramps, wild leeks. He dried and powdered the leaves and mailed Brian and I some to get creative in some of our recipes. I thought I’d sprinkle a 1/2 tablespoon into my Blackened seasoning, it was AMAZING! But don’t worry if you can’t find Ramps, the seasoning is still delicious!

I can not wait for football season so we can make these at our tailgate!

Thanks Adam for the special deviltry!

To make the blackened chicken, I mix all the spices together in a small bowl, and then generously coat the chicken wings with the seasoning on all sides, using my fingers to press the seasoning on to the chicken. 

The bright green seasoning is the Ramps from Adam.

Heat your skillet until it is searing hot skillet (use your cast iron skillet if you have one!). Drop 4 tablespoons of butter into the skillet and allow it to melt and bubble. Then place the chicken wings into the HOT skillet and cook until the chicken is blackened on each side and fully cooked inside. 

I used butter for this recipe to give the chicken a richer flavor, but you can certainly use a healthier oil, such as canola oil or coconut oil. I wouldn’t recommend olive oil because the skillet needs to be searing hot, and olive oil smokes at high temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of chicken wings 
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning, divided

BLACKENED SEASONING

  • 4 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 ½  teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

Combine all the spices and herbs in a small bowl. Mix well. 

Place the chicken wings into the spice mixture on both sides to coat the chicken. 

In a large skillet heat 4 tablespoons of butter. 

Carefully place the spice-coated chicken wings into the butter, and cook over high heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is fully cooked. 

If the chicken is blackened but not fully cooked, just lower the heat and cover with a lid, cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Serve the blackened chicken wings with blue cheese dressing.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 to 4 ounces Blue Cheese crumbles, chunky
  • Milk, buttermilk or water to thin out the dressing, optional

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except the blue cheese. Whisk until combined. 

Crumble in the blue cheese and fold together. 

Store in the refrigerator.