Combining agrarian approaches and down-home style with classical-French techniques, Chef Jennifer Booker reinvents Southern cuisine. This fried chicken recipe may take some time but family and friends are sure to come back for seconds and thirds.

Ingredients

  • Lard for frying
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 12 pieces (2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 4 breast pieces, back, and neck)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

For the gravy

  • Drippings from fried chicken (can also use drippings from pork steak, or round steak)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, or Half-and-Half

Preparation

Step 1

Add enough lard to reach 1 to 1 1/2 inches up the side of a large cast-iron skillet, and heat over medium-high heat until hot (between 350 degrees to 375 degrees Fahrenheit).

Step 2

Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper and set aside.

Step 3

In a bowl, season the flour with additional salt, pepper, and paprika.

Step 4

Dredge the chicken pieces through the seasoned flour. Carefully place the pieces in the skillet of hot lard, cover, and fry for 30 minutes, or until golden brown, turning once after 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 5

Remove the lid and cook the chicken an additional 10 minutes to crisp up the skin. Transfer the chicken to a paper towel-lined platter to drain.

To make the gravy

To make the cream gravy, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of pan drippings. Return the skillet to medium heat and whisk in the flour, salt, and pepper until smooth. Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously, until the gravy boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve the Southern Fried Chicken with Cream Gravy and Hot Pepper Relish, or your favorite hot sauce.