wait for it…, Chicken Fried Chicken WTF.
Yes, a take on the classic dish. You too can order this wonderful meal by pairing it up with 3 sides. Gee, that’s odd.
So, I had to drive the brat back to school from winter break with one of her buddies as a last minute stowaway hitching a ride to get back to school too. Three hours in, we stopped on the road at a Cracker Barrel, the combo country store/restaurant. A popular dish to have is the Chicken Fried Chicken. Fried chicken breast with Sawmill gravy(country sausage milk gravy). And don’t forget the biscuits and sweet tea.
You can never get enough and there is not one close to home so I will show you how to recreate the dish, with a twist, of course.
Step 1: Gobble, Gobble...
Wait, cluck, cluck...or whatever noise comes from the meat before it got packaged for sale in the store.
You need to do some additional butchering for our preparation. Have ready some small thin pretzel sticks and cooked spaghetti.
Know or learn how to cook. Know how to safely prepare food and clean up afterwards. All the rest is the fun part.
Take a small oblong shape or piece of chicken and cut in four places to separate out the appendages.
You should get something that will become the 4 legs and the head.
Take your sharp knife or if you have a large meat serving fork - the two pronged kind - to poke a hole to insert your pretzel sticks for the bones. I also put a small pretzel stick through the head part. It is supposed to be the eyes but that detail is lost when it gets breaded over.
Poke a hole to insert the tail spaghetti. This time, I doubled up the strands for a thicker tail. Use udon or cooked al dente bucatini thick spaghetti to avoid extra work later. These beasts seemed to be more the guinea pig size...
Step 2: Don't Sugar Coat This Part...
This is the standard breading technique.
For the glue liquid - I used an egg beaten with some milk.
Dust the meat with flour.
Dip in the egg wash.
Dip into the flour bowl.
Repeat as necessary to build up a nice coating.
You can add any kind of seasoning to your flour coating or use breadcrumbs instead.
For the tail, if you have multiple strands, "glue" them together with egg wash and flour. Build up the tail to proper thickness.
Place the coated items on wax paper and stack in the fridge to rest for an hour or so. The coating will need to harden a bit and adhere.
I actually used pancake mix for the flour since that was handy. I was going to add a bit of baking powder to my regular flour so I would get a fluffier coating but that pancake mix had it in there already. I added salt and pepper to the mix. Using pancake mix kind of gave it the "je ne sais quoi" chicken and waffles vibe to the dish. Since the pancake mix was not overly sweet, it did work out as a savory coating for the chicken.
Step 3: In Deep Oil...
Deep oil frying is dangerous.
Learn how to do it safely and be prepared for the hazards it presents.
I am doing pan-frying with half a vat of oil in the pan so I will have to turn over my unidentified frying objects.
I am armed with a good set of tongs and my wooden spoon.
The clean plates lined with paper towels are on the side to drain the fried items when they come out of the oil.
Gently slide the coated pieces into the oil. Position the tail nicely as it will fry up in that position.
When they are halfway cooked, you will need to turn them over to fry the other side. You can baste with the hot oil to harden up the uncooked side in order to be able to grab it to flip over so you don't rip the coating.
After I fried the first one, I figured I could get two into the pan and be able to manipulate them without getting each other caught up by the tail or the bones.
Step 4: Milking This Part...
One of the ingredients of Sawmill gravy is meat grease. From what meat, I dunno.
After emptying out the frying pan and disposing of the burnt sludge and bits from the fried flour, I put back in a few spoons of the flavoured frying oil.
I threw in a frozen breakfast sausage link and chopped it into itty bitty pieces when it started frying up.
You can also fry up some bacon in the mix or add a few pats of butter for more flavor.
You can also some additional spice or some onion and garlic powder in there.
When the meat bits are browned, throw in a few spoons of flour.
Stir everything around so that the flour absorbs the grease in the pan and let it cook for a few minutes. You are making the roux or thickener for your gravy.
Turn down the heat a bit and add in about a cup of milk.
Things start getting crazy real quick as the milk will start bubbling and the whole mix getting to a concrete stiffness as it all gels together.
Don't panic. Keep stirring to get rid of the lumps and add more milk as necessary to keep it all liquid. I used my wooden spoon but you may use a whisk or fork for better mixing. You'll want to make the gravy a little thinner than when served because it will stiffen up as it cools out of the pan. Keep going till you get it all back to the bubbling boil and the gravy smooth.
You should now season with a lot of salt and pepper, otherwise, you will only have a batch of tasteless glue.
Step 5: Mmmm, This Is a Tasty...
Yum, yum, you just gotta try it.
Serve plenty of gravy on top of your chicken fried chicken. Add any sides you have prepared.
The first one was so good, I had another serving. Oooo, look, you can tear off the "drumsticks".