A long stretch of low-fat meals left me hungry for fat and savory. Half-remembering Dooky Chase's legendary fried chicken from her Seventies cook book, I dry rubbed several bone-in thighs with cayenne, powdered garlic, and thyme. While the meat got up to room temperature, I beat an egg and set out a bowl of flour for breading. Granulated flour was what was on hand.
The egg looked insufficient, and remembering Chase's cream, I substituted sour cream. It beat into a thick gel that clung to the raw meat and held the flour well.
I heated a generous depth of olive oil in a small enameled cast iron saucepan, frying two thighs one at a time hot and fast, setting them into a medium oven to coast to a finish. A third thigh I browned and set aside for the next day.
The leftover oil made a good base for a Paul Prudhomme-style fast roux. I heated the oil, added enough granulated flour to thicken it, let the mixture brown, and then seared half an onion, a long stalk of celery, and one of the largest green peppers that is not green pepper ordinaire, all diced, in what Prudhomme calls Cajun napalm. When the vegetables were nearly soft, I added boxed low-sodium chicken stock by the quarter cup, letting the stock reduce between additions. The technique is Prudhomme's way to accelerate the cooking of the vegetables.
I added the half-cooked chicken thigh, cut up into pieces the size of a walnut, and threw in the bone and another cup of stock for good measure. Twenty minute's simmer was all it took to generate a workday gumbo served over leftover rice.
The egg-sour cream and granulated flour breading produced an unprecedented crust. It was thick, flaky, and held up well in the oven. I topped both the first meal and the next day's with minced scallions.
-30-More after the jump.