I've never made fried chicken. It always felt a little intimidating to me. However, I decided to take on the challenge when I read that one of my most beloved bands, The Handsome Family, was playing at Millennium Park during Monday night's Downtown Sound. I often do the traditional cheese, baguette, fruit, and Underground Meats for picnic style concerts, but I decided to go the traditional southern style and give fried chicken a whirl.
I used Lucinda Scala Quinn's recipe for Quick Fried Chicken from her cookbook Mad Hungry Feeding Men and Boys, a new favorite of mine. Lucinda says you can have this on the table in 45 minutes and I would agree. Minus soaking the chicken (not necessary) and my fumbling around with cutting apart a chicken, that is.
Timing was of the essence with this picnic item, so I'm going to write this blog post as a timeline. I wanted the chicken to be warmish by the time I got to Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, so I planned my schedule backwards from there.* I didn't write it down, but this was my timetable floating around in my head.
1:30 - Soak the chicken in a mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce. Lucinda says you can do this for as little as 10 minutes or for as long 24 hours. Mine ended up being about 2 hours.
buttermilk and hot sauce|
3:35 - Coat chicken with flour and seasoning mixture in a brown paper bag.
In the meantime, you can start packing your picnic bag/basket. Mine just happens to be a bike pannier.
sheet, bug spray, grapes, radishes, boxed wine, reading material (while waiting for others to arrive),
scarf (wildly unnecessary)
4:30 - Pack up chicken. I put the chick in a doubled brown paper bag. Lightly salt in the chicken.
4:35 - Ride my bike downtown to Millennium Park.
5:30 - Arrive at MP (it was windy). Stake out a spot. Admire the scenery. Try not to eat the chicken until Max, Danielle, Jason, or Hunter arrive (difficult).
Jay Pritzker Pavilion|
Erin eating a chicken wing|
*Obviously the chicken wasn't piping hot, but it was warm, and as I pigged out on more pieces throughout the night I enjoyed it as much cold as I did warm.