Southern-Style Fried Chicken
Dust off your Dutch oven and fry chicken you won't be able to keep on the table
Cajun seasoning—a mixture of potent spices such as chiles, onion, garlic, and black pepper—gives this chicken a spicy kick. A dutch oven is practical for deep-frying, as it heats evenly, maintains the oil at an even temperature, and has high sides to prevent splattering.
- 1 chicken, about 4 lb (2 kg), cut into 10 pieces
- 11⁄2 cups (12 fl oz/375 ml) buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning blend
- Sea salt and cracked pepper
- 1 cup (5 oz/155 g) all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup (21⁄2 oz/75 g) cornmeal
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Canola oil for frying
- Lemon wedges for serving
Makes 6 servings
- Arrange the chicken pieces in a nonreactive baking dish. In a bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, 1 tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning, and 1⁄2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken pieces and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
- In large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, the remaining 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, and the paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Remove the chicken in its marinade from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Pour the oil to a depth of at least 3 inches (7.5 cm) into a dutch oven with at least a 5 qt (5 l) capacity. Heat over medium heat until the oil registers 350°F (180°C) on a deep-frying thermometer. Place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and set near the stove.
- Working in batches, remove 3 or 4 chicken pieces from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place each piece in the cornmeal mixture and turn to coat. Carefully slide the coated chicken into the hot oil and fry, turning with tongs, until dark golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack. Return the oil to 350°F before frying the next batch. When all the chicken is cooked, put the baking sheet in the oven and bake the chicken until opaque throughout, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve right away with the lemon wedges.
Appears with permission from Cooking in Cast Iron. Recipes by Valerie Aikman-Smith; photographs by Ray Kachatorian. Copyright 2010 by Weldon Owen Inc.