For a girl who does most of her grocery shopping at Whole Foods, the idea of buying the requisite can of Crisco to fry chicken was a little out of my comfort zone. But once I scooped the frosting-like white fluff out of the can and heated it in my big Le Creuset, it bubbled up and cooked the chicken to golden brown perfection.
This recipe should be prefaced with my first foray into frying chicken. I was fourteen and set out to fry up two big cast-iron pans of chicken, heating the oil on high and not paying attention to the warning smoke swilling up from the oil. Suddenly both pans burst into flames, chicken and all. Alone in the house, I naively though water would solve my problems (fire should theoretically be extinguished by water, right?). Any savvy person knows that water on an oil or grease fire is a bad idea, and in my case caused the pans, which I had somehow gotten outside onto our brick patio, to explode flames five feet up into the air. It’s a miracle I didn’t burn off all my hair and burn the house down in the same stroke. The fire died down, and my mom found me covered in soot, but with two plates of perfectly cooked chicken. That was the second miracle of the day! The patio still has grease stains ten years later, but I’d say the chicken was well worth it.
To avoid a disaster in the making, make sure you have a thermometer set in the oil while it heats slowly over medium low heat. And if anything catches on fire, reach for a pan to cover the fire and cut off its oxygen. But if you proceed slowly, you really shouldn’t have any problems.