Crispy-skinned fried chicken, hot from the pan and bursting with juice, is one of the simplest and best-tasting soul food classics and one of our most popular dishes at Sylvia's. Serve the chicken with Giblet Gravy and any of the following "sides"" Black- eyed Peas, Collard Greens, Potato Salad, and boiled String Beans with Ham.
Makes 8 servings
- 2 3 1/2-pound frying chickens, cut into 8 pieces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons paprika, plush more for the finished chicken
- Vegetable oil
1. Trim the excess fat and skin from each piece of chicken. Sprinkle the pieces with salt and pepper. Stir the flour and paprika together in a shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour to cat on all sides. Shake of the excess flour.
2. Pour enough vegetable oil into a heavy deep skillet (cast-iron is perfect) to fill it to 2 inches. Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. (A small cube of bread dropped in the oil will brown in about 20 seconds.)
3. Add only as many of the chicken pieces as will fit without touching. Overcrowding will lower the temperature of the oil and make your fried chicken greasy. With a long-handled fork or tongs to prevent getting splattered, turn the chicken pieces until they are golden brown on all sides and cooked through, about 6 minutes. The easiest way to tell if the chicken is cooked is to poke a fork down to the bone near the thickest part-if the chicken is cooked the juices will run clear, not pink.
4.Remove the chicken pieces from the skillet to drain. If you have to fry the chicken in batches, keep the fried chicken warm on a baking sheet in a 250 degree Fahrenheit oven. When all the chicken is fried, sprinkle the pieces with paprika and serve hot.