Kevin was hankering after fried chicken. And cabbage and carrots, finely shredded and braised together in butter, is his favorite vegetable side, so I made them both for dinner tonight. The co-op had boneless, skinless chicken thighs on special. I I made this recipe up on the fly. It came out so good—full of savory goodness, and just a little heat—that I told Kevin, as I gave him the first crispy, juicy piece from the fry pot: “The Colonel’s going to be coming to me for this recipe!”
I don’t want him coming to the house, so here it is, free for the taking.
“Better Than the Bucket” Fried Chicken
Here’s the spice blend and approximate proportions for the flour:
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground dried oregano
1 tsp ground dry mustard
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground dried cayenne
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup flour
You’ll also need:
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 cups rendered lard
Mix the flour and spices together and set aside. In another bowl, beat two eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. If necessary, cut thighs into pieces so they are less than half a pound each. Salt lightly on both sides. Dip each piece into the flour mixture, rolling it around to coat it completely. Dip it into the egg, quickly, once on each side, then back into the flour, dredging it to completely coat. Set the piece onto a board. Repeat with the other pieces, setting them separately on the board. When you are done, dredge the pieces again through the flour, to coat any moist spots that have developed while resting.
Heat the lard in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. The fat should be about two inches deep. If at any point it begins to smoke, lower the heat slightly. You will see the occasional puff of steam rise from the chicken but should not see more than that rising from the pot, or smell smoke.
When a pinch of flour sprinkled into the fat sizzles, it’s ready. Lay a few pieces of chicken in the oil so they do not touch one another. Fry for 3-5 minutes on one side, until it is a delicious shade of russet. Turn and fry on the other side until done. As you take one cooked piece out, put another raw piece in, to keep the fat at a steady temperature.
Lay two or three pieces of paper towel in a pie plate and keep this in a warm oven to hold fried chicken while you fry the rest of the batches.
Makes four servings.