I don’t have a lot of girl friends. In high school I found the ‘mean girls’ to be just that, and I separated myself from the drama. That meant I had a lot of guy friends. The cafeteria lunch table was me and three (sometimes more) boys who had a blast. There was minimal drama. No gossip, and no underlying comparisons to fashion, hair or makeup.
Since then I have gained a few girl friends along the way and they all meet my requirements of no-nonsense and minimal drama.
Then there is Vintage Thread. She is not only no nonsense and no drama, but this woman has the patience of a Saint. We have a lot in common, and yet we are so different.
She can sew an entire wardrobe for a whole theater production. I give her my skirts that need new buttons.
She is soft spoken. I am a loud mouth.
She is tall and thin. I am petite and jiggly.
She works for a call center for a company’s customer service. I would get fired for telling people to get lost.
But somehow our friendship works.
Nearly every Sunday we have dinner with her family. It has become somewhat of a tradition, and Vintage Thread and I rotate the cooking duties and attempt to turn out favorites from our well-loved family cook books.
This is one of the dishes she would frequently ask for as a child – sometimes on her birthday. Since today IS her birthday it is only right that you eat fried chicken, too.
Oven-fried Chicken & Good Gravy (Gluten Free)
2 1/2 to 3 Pounds Chicken Pieces
1 1/2 Tablespoon Shortening
1 1/2 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Cup Corn Starch
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
• Preheat oven to 425 degrees
• Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry
• Put Shortening and Butter on rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven until melted.
• Combine Salt, Paprika, Pepper and Poultry seasoning in a small dish.
• Sprinkle seasoning mixture over all sides of chicken and let the meat rest for five minutes.
• Put corn starch in a one gallon zip lock bag. Place all chicken pieces in bag and shake around until each piece is thoroughly coated. (Reserve the bag of extra coating for later use)
• Remove heated pan from oven and place chicken pieces in rows about one inch apart.
• Bake for one hour*, turning the chicken over half-way through.
Vintage Thread’s Method
• Remove chicken from pan and set aside, keeping it warm under a foil tent. Pour off three quarters of the grease, then place the pan on the stove top over medium/high heat. Pour a cup of water on the pan and work the chicken bits off of the bottom. Add two tablespoons of the coating reserved earlier. Whisk until few lumps remain and bring gravy to a bubble. You may need to add more water. Adjust with salt and pepper.
• Remove chicken from pan and set aside, keeping it warm under a foil tent. Pour off three quarters of the grease, then place the pan on the stove top over medium/high heat. Pour a cup of boiling hot water on the pan and work the chicken bits off of the bottom. Scrape the entire contents of the pan into a food processor. Add two tablespoons of the coating reserved earlier. Give the food processor about five pulses, or run until the gravy is the texture you desire. Adjust with salt and pepper.
* Smaller pieces of chicken may only need 45 minutes of cooking time. Pull these from the pan and keep warm under a foil tent until the larger pieces are finished.
Serve with mashed potatoes and a seasonal vegetable.