This is one of those recipes that I just can't, for the life of me, get to turn out like Grandma's. I realize now, that part of what makes this so dang good, is the gravy, which we didn't actually do for the recipe.
If I could kick myself, I would've. We were just focused on doin' the chicken (the chicken you eat, not the dance)...which was FABULOUS! But I'll talk you through the gravy at the end, and Gram can update me if it's wrong! ;)
This is a good ol', stick to your bones recipe that is best when paired with mashed potatoes and gravy.
Let's get started.
Warsh yer chicken.
Before we go any further, a tip for your wing tips:
Cut 'em off.
Then, toss 'em in a Ziplock and keep 'em in the freezer to use to make chicken stock! Gram says all the flavor is there...fat, skin, bone...for a delicious stock!
Okay, grab a hunk of Crisco, and get your skillet heating up...
Mix up the flour mixture in which you'll dredge your chicken.
LOADS of salt (that's a lot of chicken you're seasoning):
Not quite as much black pepper:
And a generous amount of paprika:
Voila. Now, stir it together.
By now your Crisco should be melting nicely so add some butter. (BTW, Gram wants me to give a disclaimer that she doesn't cook like this "everyday". These are her "special" meals, and "special" means butter because "butter" means love. The end.)
While the butter and Crisco melt together in perfect harmony, dredge your chicken. Starting with the "big pieces" (breasts, thighs) first:
Then setting them aside to let the coating set up nicely.
Now...time for that chicken to take a swim in a hot bath of Crisco and butter to get nice and brown.
Not quite brown enough, pack in the pan for you, mister! Wait. That's a breast...let me rephrase that..."back in the pan for you, miss!".
Ahhhh...now there's the color we want. Don't be afraid to go even a bit darker.
As the chicken finishes browning on both sides, place in single layer in roasting pan.
Last batch of chicken get's some onion...yum.
Now, as the last batch is finishing up with browning, grab some cream, milk, half and half. Gram prefers half and half, but had 1/2 of this guy left so...
She just filled up that carton with some milk! Voila. Problem solved.
Now, pour your half and half (cream? milk?) over the chicken in the skillet and let it really bubble up.
Then remove the chicken and stir around the creamy, greasy deliciousness that is left in the pan that will create your incredible gravy.
Pour that deliciousness all over the chicken in the pan. (Note: for smoother gravy, strain the cream mixture first.) At this point, taste your "gravy"...sprinkle more salt over the whole dang thing if you think it needs a little "something". That "something" is usually salt.
Into a nice hot oven that chicken goes!
And in approximately 1 1/2 hours, ta dah!! Old Fashioned Chicken (sorry for the crummy photo. Couldn't get the lighting right.)
And, because I'm a flake, I forgot to plate it up and take a nice photo of it. So, not only are you stuck with a crummy photo, but it's a crummy not even "plated" photo. Forgive me.
Note, this is a large recipe!
Gram's Old Fashioned Chicken
2-3 chickens, cut up, rinsed and dried
1 cup Crisco
1/2 cup butter
4 cups flour
1/4 cup salt (more to taste)
2-3 T pepper
2-3 T paprika
1 onion, diced
1/2 pint milk, cream or half and half
Preheat oven to 350* F. In electric skillet (or stove top) heat Crisco. When it starts to melt, add butter, continue to heat until temp reaches 350 or a drop of water sizzles immediately when dropped in oil. Mix together flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Dredge chicken in flour mixture, coating thoroughly, set aside chicken pieces until you have enough chicken to fill skillet, but don't over crowd skillet. In batches, brown chicken until nicely golden brown, placing in roasting pan after browning. On last batch, add onion and cook well, near end of cooking time, add in cream and allow to bubble up. When last batch of chicken is browned, remove to roasting pan, stir cream mixture around in skillet, then carefully pour over chicken in roasting pan. Bake for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
To make gravy, remove chicken from pan. Pour drippings into pan on stove top and heat until bubbly. Mix flour and water to consistency of thin glue (a bit runny) then whisk into pan, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For smoother gravy, strain drippings from skillet and/or roasting pan before thickening on stove top.
Serve with mashed potatoes and enjoy!