If you want to stray from tradition—but you're feeling a little timid about your journey—why not stay close to home, and prepare this creative Southern variation of Southern fried chicken?
1 pint whole milk
1/2 cup molasses
3 tablespoons bourbon
3-pound fryer, cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
lard, vegetable shortening, or vegetable oil for frying (at least 4 cups)
1. In a large bowl combine the milk, molasses, and bourbon and mix well. Add the chicken pieces, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
2. When ready to cook the chicken, season the flour with salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Place the cornmeal in a separate bowl, and place a rack next to the bowls.
3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Heavily coat the chicken with the seasoned flour, and let sit on rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Heat shortening, in 2 deep-straight-sided skillets, to 350°F; the shortening should be about 3/4-inch deep. When it is hot, dip the chicken back into the marinade and then immediately coat with cornmeal. Carefully place half of the chicken in each pan. Fry chicken for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, about 20 minutes total, until it is deep golden brown and cooked through. (If the oil threatens to smoke at any point, reduce the heat; if the oil stops bubbling around the chicken pieces, increase the heat.)
5. Drain the chicken on paper towels and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
If you want to stray from tradition—but you're feeling a little timid about your journey—why not stay close to home, and prepare this creative Southern variation of Southern fried chicken? The molasses adds a haunting sweetness; the bourbon and cornmeal let you know that you're still in Dixie. Serves 4 Recommended wine: Chenin Blanc