Monday, February 16, 2009

REDISCOVERING AN OLD FAVORITE


Geraldo and I went out to eat a couple of times this past weekend and we went to a couple different restaurants that we'd talked about visiting, but had never been to. We usually go to a steak place or Bar B Que, Mexican or Steak and Shake when I'm being spoiled, but I'd been wanting some real food...you know some home cooked, meat and taters food. And I wanted someone else to cook it....and cook for me for a change. Now Gerald and I agree that we are very lucky that we can have a home cooked meal any day ( or night) of the week, as that's pretty much the "norm" here at The Schmidt House. Since cooking is my thing and something I really enjoy doing, I have never really considered making dinner to be a chore..like some folks do. That's because I have other jobs around the house I much more prefer to gripe about. Having said that...I do get the other stuff done...it's just with some moaning and groaning that I begrudgingly dust, vacuum and sweep. Thankfully I have a great partner that helps me keep our home nice. And in return I keep him well fed.
So this weekend, Gerald and I hit a couple of what we here in Nashville call a "Meat 'n Three." That's right...1 choice of meat and 3 sides. I'd say 3 vegetables, but not everybody considers macaroni 'n cheese or fried apples a vegetable. These places are generally opened from early in the morning till around 2 p.m. in the afternoon and are jam packed at lunch with every walk of life imaginable. Just goes to show ya that not everyone is getting some "home cooking" at home and especially not the deep fried, gravy laden, "bake until bubbly" concoctions these small, cramped little cafes serve up on a daily basis.
I have mentioned in earlier posts that I think frying chicken is an art and if you ate chicken at 5 different restaurants, you'd get 5 different versions of the same bird. Brining is an absolute must and no fowl gets past me without a nice, long dip in some salty water. Makes all the difference in the world. Try it...you'll be a convert.
Anyway, I remember from back in my Rock 'n Roll days when I was travelling all the time that when we were up in the "Heartland" i.e. Iowa, Wisconsin, the Plains states, we would see the signs for "Genuine Broaster Chicken" everywhere. Of course we tried it cause many times it was offered right inside the gas station where we were filling up our car. They had the special equipment required to cook the chicken according to the broasting ....technique.... method...... whatever!...it was different..special. Back then the only food available in a gas station was a frozen Tombstone pizza that took several minutes to minutes to heat up in one of those little toaster ovens, or if you were lucky, they had that rolling hot dog heater with some wieners and on a good day, some polish sausage. On a great day, we'd hit a place with Maid Rite sandwiches but that's a whole 'nother story!
Broasted Chicken became a fond food memory and recently I saw a sign at a Texaco near us that they had some. They even have the sign out front with that important looking chicken wearing that fancy hat and brandishing a walking stick in his wing. That's the real deal....or as they say in the south..."Bonafide." But I digress.......
Back to our weekend dining experiences...I ate Fried Chicken at 2 different meat 'n three's this weekend. Both were good...one was better. One had the tastiest, crispiest, brown crust and moist white meat chicken. Had to be broasted, I thought. The other tasted like mine (coincidentally, Geraldo liked it the best) and it was better that average, but nothing like the broasted version. So, I hit the internet to see what made broasted chicken "broasted" and I came across this article that explains it so well. I'd always heard the Colonel had ripped off somebody's pressure cooked chicken recipe and this article sorta touches on that theory. (Paula Deen swears up and down that he stole her Grandma Paul's recipe when he was passing thru Augusta, GA.)
I knew some hot, fast frying had to be involved and I knew the chicken had to have been brined. What I didn't know was that the whole dang thing is deep fried and deep fried in a pressure cooker no less! Now, that's brave! I thought they pressure cooked the chicken (like in regular moist steam...not oil) and then fried it in very hot oil or lard in a deep skillet. The following article explains how they make, what I think, is the best tasting chicken anywhere...north, south, east or west. There's some really good recipes at the bottom of the article for cole slaw, gravy, biscuits and a great sounding broasted chicken recipe for home cooks. Read it and enlighten yourself on the finer art of an American Classic. BROASTER CHICKEN......some say, "just like the Colonel ripped off!"


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