Ever wonder why there isn't a chicken-fried chicken alternative to chicken-fried steak? Turns out it exists, and it's called Maryland fried chicken. Shallow fried with a simple dredging of seasoned flour until golden, then topped with a white gravy made in the skillet after frying, this is a version of fried chicken you need to know about.
Why this recipe works:
- Covering the pan partway through frying helps the chicken cook evenly; a few minutes uncovered afterwards guarantees a crispy exterior.
- A simple white gravy made in the same skillet takes this fried chicken to a whole new level of indulgence.
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:30 minutes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 serving pieces, backbone reserved
- Vegetable oil or lard, for frying
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- Corn on the cob, white bread with butter, and mashed potatoes, for serving
Preheat oven to 200°F. In a shallow bowl, season flour with salt and pepper. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper and dredge each piece in flour, shaking off excess. Reserve seasoned flour.
In a large cast iron or heavy non stick skillet, heat 1/4 inch oil over high heat to 350°F. Carefully lay chicken pieces in hot oil, skin side down, and fry until lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, turn chicken and brown lightly on other side. Turn chicken once more so that it's skin side down again and cover skillet. Cook, covered for 2 minutes. Remove cover and continue frying chicken, turning as necessary, until will browned on both sides and just cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set over a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt. Transfer to oven to keep warm.
Pour off grease into a heatproof container and return skillet to burner. Lower heat to medium-high, add butter and cook until melted and foamy, whisking to scrape up any browned bits. Add 2 tablespoons of reserved seasoned flour, whisking to form a paste. Whisk in milk and cook until a smooth gravy forms that coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Season gravy with salt and a generous amount of black pepper.
Load chicken onto plates and pour gravy on top. Serve with sides like ears of corn, soft white bread and butter, and mashed potatoes.