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SOUTHERN PAN-FRIED CHICKEN AND GRAVY

1 frying chicken (2-1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 8-10 pieces, with skin
1/2 cup milk mixed with 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or use 1 cup buttermilk)
2-1/2 cups peanut oil
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or paprika, or more to taste
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
1-2 Tbsp. grated onion

Wash the chicken in cold water and drain it well. Place the chicken
in a stainless-steel or glass baking dish. Pour the milk-yogurt
mixture or the buttermilk over the chicken, making sure all the
pieces are coated. Set aside for 1 hour.

Meanwhile preheat the over to 200 degrees. Set a wire rack on a
baking sheet and place it in the oven.

Place the chicken pieces in a colander to drain. Put the oil in
a deep heavy skillet or saute pan, place it over medium-high heat
and heat it to 350 degrees. Combine the salt,m black pepper,
cayenne and flour in a heavy paper bag. Shake well to mix.

As the oil approaches 250 degrees, remove the pieces of chicken
from the colander 1 at a time, shaking off any excess liquid, and
add them to the bag, shaking well to coat. Reserve the leftover
flour. When the fat reaches 350 degrees, place the chicken pieces
in the pan 1 at a time, skin-side down. Start with the dark meat
pieces, which take a little longer. Cool in batches, if necessary;
you do not want to crowd the chicken, and the oil should come up
around the edges of each piece.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat a little (you want to keep the
temperature at 350 degrees) and fry 5-7 minutes until the underside
is brown. Turn the chicken, cover the pan again and dry for another
5-7 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking until the
chicken is perfectly crisp and cooked all the way though, about 15
minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the wire rack to drain and
keep warm while you fry the rest and make the gravy. Carefully
pour all but 2-3 tablespoons of the fat out of the skillet, leaving
all the little browned bits in the pan. Place the pan back on the
stove over the medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved
flour to the fat, whisking it in and stirring constantly until it
begins to brown. Slowly add the 2 cups milk and the onion and
continue cooking, stirring often, until the desired consistency if
reached, about 5 minutes. Taste the gravy, add salt and pepper to
taste and pour into a gravy boat to serve.

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