I’m not sure what inspired Laura Belle and I to undertake the challenge of a Sunday supper (well, we made it on a Saturday, but “Saturday supper” doesn’t have the same ring to it). A couple of months ago we were at the U-District farmers market and spotted some collard greens, and I think that was the beginning. What goes best with collards? Why, fried chicken and biscuits, of course!
Neither of us had ever fried chicken before and we felt like it was an experience that had to be done once in order to maintain our status as Southerners living so far away from the tribe. We decided to make a tomato relish to top it all off, using some beautiful tomatoes from the farmers market, which added some bright flavor to what could have been a heavy, greasy plate of food. Despite the mess of frying chicken—a splatter screen would have come in handy—everything turned out much better than I expected it to. LB’s husband even asked for seconds, and ate most of the leftovers the next day.
Below are recipes for fried chicken, collard greens, and the tomato relish; we also made biscuits from a recipe LB got from her mom, but seeing as how LB and Rory are in the wilds of Costa Rica right about now, I don’t have easy access to the recipe.
adapted from several recipes my mom had in her recipe binder
*you’ll need a candy thermometer for this one, kids.
2 cups buttermilk
salt and pepper
chicken (skin on, bone in—you can buy a whole fryer bird or the pieces already cut up…we did the latter)
Rinse the chicken and put it in a bowl. Pour buttermilk over the chicken until it’s mostly submerged. Let it soak for an hour or so.
Pour the peanut oil in your largest high-sided skillet (or a cast-iron skillet if you’re a good Southerner, unlike me)—about an inch or so. Clip the thermometer on the skillet and watch for it to get to 360˚.
While the oil is working its way up to 360˚, get your flour dredging ready. Put the flour in a shallow pan (pie pan, in my case) and add salt and pepper.
When the oil is at the right temperature, take a piece of chicken from the bowl, shake off the excess buttermilk, and dredge it in the flour mixture. Carefully place the chicken in the oil.
Cook for a total of 16–18 minutes, turning the chicken after 8 minutes or so. We were a bit paranoid about burning the skin, so most of our chicken was still a bit pink on the inside once we took it out of the pan to drain on paper towels. Our remedy was to put those pieces in a 300˚ oven until the inside was as done as the outside.
*adapted from an old Southern Living recipe of my mom’s
12 slices of bacon
3 quarts of water
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. sugar
big bunch of collard greens
Remove and discard any colored spots from greens. Wash greens thoroughly and drain. (This is an important step, because greens can get sandy and you don’t want them to have a crunch.) At this point, you can either tear them into pieces or chop them…I did a chiffonade for long strips of greens by rolling the leaves up and slicing through into 1/2-inch pieces.
Slice up bacon in 1/2-inch pieces. Put water, pepper, sugar, and bacon into a large stock pot and boil. Cover and reduce heat; simmer for an hour.
Add greens and cook, uncovered, for 30-35 minutes or until tender. I added quite a few shakes of Tabasco to the pot before serving.
*adapted from here, I believe
4 large tomatoes (we used green and red for a variety)
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
Dice up the tomatoes and onions. Add all ingredients to a pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes until the mixture has reduced and is thick. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Fried chicken + biscuits + collard greens + tomato jam =