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Want the secret to making delicious homestyle fried chicken using even older birds? This crispy fried chicken is a crowd pleaser!
Back in the pioneer days, wasting food was unheard of. If you raised it, you used it in every way, shape, and form. Older birds that were done laying became dinner themselves, cows went from being milked to being dinner. It’s a complete circle of life.
Of course, older chickens were rather tough and gamey in flavor or texture. In our modern days, we would pressure cook them, or use a crock pot for low and slow cooking to get that tender flavor. Without electricity, there isn’t a way to do that. However, it IS possible to get and older hen or rooster to have tender, juicy, falling off the bone meat. Even without a pressure cooker or crock pot.
This recipe is based off the Little House Cookbook and we’re thinking of creating a whole series of cooking our way through it, let me know in the comments if you’d like to see this as regular feature?
Apple Cider Vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is what the pioneers would have used to help break down the fibers of the chicken meat, giving it a juicy, tender flavor. It would also add a bit of “tang” that we would see now using buttermilk.
If you are cooking an old hen, apple cider vinegar is a must, and how you can make a fried chicken recipe without buttermilk.
Today, we think of crispy fried chicken as something that is only deep fried. Fully submerged in the oil, and held there until golden brown.
However, back in the pioneer days, they most likely would not have used that much oil. It would have seemed very wasteful, and since fats only were harvested at butchering time, care was taken with that valuable resource.
Now, don’t get me wrong. They used lots of traditional fats, such as lard or tallow for frying. Most of the time, they would get a crispy skin on the outside on the stove top, and finish it in the wood stove. Same result, less use of the valuable cooking fats.
For this fried chicken recipe, you only need a traditional fat, chicken pieces, a bit of flour and some seasonings. A bit of time on the stove top (skillet fried chicken finished in the oven), and you are ready to enjoy dinner!
Here’s how the pioneers would have made crispy fried chicken. Slightly adapted to our modern times, of course.
No. You can use whole wheat, spelt, kamut, or einkorn. All will give a great crispy crust. The difference will only be in the flavor at the end. It’s the same way that white bread tastes a bit different from whole wheat bread.
Of course, you can buy the chicken at the store. This recipe is made for 8 pieces, or 1 whole chicken. But, it also works great to make crispy chicken legs, thighs, or wings. Whatever you have on hand will work.
Due to the amount of oil we are using, it would be nearly impossible to get even 8 chicken pieces fully cooked on the stove top. The coating will soak up some of the fat, and you would run out of hot oil long before your chicken was done.
We will use the stove top to get the crispy skin, but finish it in the oven, to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Placing the chicken on a cooling rack over a sheet pan allows hot air to get around the entire piece, and keeps it from getting soggy on one side.
1 whole frying chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4-5 cups cold water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
⅔ cup all purpose flour
½ cup traditional fat, measured in solid form
What is your favorite comfort food? Will you try this crispy fried chicken recipe? Be sure to let me know what you think!