Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy

Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy

Dorcas Annette Walker

I’ve only met a couple of men along the way who didn’t love fried chicken. Thankfully my husband wasn’t one of them as traveling around you could always count on having fried chicken. In fact, preachers often joke about all the fowl that have entered the ministry. I discovered that while one can get tired of eating roast beef for some reason it doesn’t apply to chicken. Today one can buy chicken cut up and ready to cook or pull some out of the freezer- unlike in my Grandmother’s day when having fried chicken meant a lot of work. In those days fried chicken started out at the hen house where one chose a plump hen or a fattened rooster, caught the chosen fowl, wrung its neck and then chopped the head off, scaled the chicken, plucked the feathers, gutted it, and cut it up. Then the iron skillet was heated up and frying the chicken began.

Next to my room where I am working on the computer there are some chicks hatching in the incubator. First you see a tiny hole in the egg that slowly widens. Then you can hear the chick peep in protest as it tries to break out. The egg shell will expand and wobble around. Slowly, all so slowly, a tiny foot and miniature wing will poke out until at last, kicking and fluttering the chick will break loose from its shell. Dana and I were up at midnight last night watching a chick finally break through its shell. There is something awesome about seeing an egg come alive. Like a good farmer’s wife, for a couple of weeks now I’ve faithfully turned all the eggs at noon in the incubator. To be quite frank there isn’t much joy in turning eggs that don’t respond, but the reward comes in seeing newly hatched chicks turn into adorable balls of fluff that chirp and move about. We have six other small chicks with feathers that Dana moved from the brooder (where the young chicks stay until their feathers grow out) to another section near the grown chickens.

Our small farm is alive and growing. Zebulon, our rooster, keeps a close eye on all the hens while strutting proudly among them showing off his gorgeous feathers. He is a perfect alarm clock starting to crow between 4 and 5 am each morning and also makes an excellent watch-dog, sounding an alarm if anything out-of-schedule happens on our place. I never thought there’d come a day when I’d have to try to sneak around to hide from a rooster. For some reason every time Zebulon sees my face he thinks he needs some scraps. He knows a push-over when he sees one and will loudly crow his demands. The crazy bird probably thinks I am one of the hens. Every so often I remind Zebulon of his pal, Nebuchadnezzar, who was fattened up, put in the freezer, and eaten to try and keep him in his place.

When preparing Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy you don’t want to rush the process or you end will up with uncooked or tough meat. First the chicken needs to be browned to a crisp to hold in the meat juices and then slowly simmered until the meat is tender. My Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy recipe takes about an hour to prepare and serves four.

Southern Fried Chicken and Gravy

4 chicken thighs or breasts
5 tb shortening
Seasoned salt and flour
Melt shortening in an iron skillet. Roll pieces of chicken in seasoned flour and brown both sides of the chicken. Sprinkle seasoned salt on both sides. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for thirty minutes. Place the fried chicken on a platter lined with paper towels to drain the grease and cover.

Stir in the hot grease:
½ c seasoned flour
½ tsp salt
Turn up on high for a couple of minutes until the flour mixture is browned stirring frequently. Lower to medium heat and add:
2 c cold water
1 c cold milk
Stir briskly with a wire Wisk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve!

Weekly tip: Seasoned flour: 2 c self-rising flour, 2 tsp poultry seasoning, ½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning salt, and ½ tsp black pepper. Mix together and store in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until needed!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, syndicated columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more information check out:


Dorcas said...

My Mom made the best fried chicken. I made it one time like she did!

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Your Mom's cooking is always the best!