Southern Fried Chicken
1 (3-pound) chicken, in parts
Salt and pepper
Wash the chicken and pat dry, then cut into serving pieces. Dredge in flour, then shake excess flour off. Season with salt and pepper.
To fry the chicken, heat shortening or olive oil in a deep, heavy pan over high heat; use enough fat for a depth of at least 3 inches in the pan. Using a deep-frying thermometer, heat the oil to 360 degrees.
Put several pieces of chicken at a time into the hot oil, beginning with the legs and thighs, then the wings and breast. Do not overcrowd the pan. You may have to prepare the chicken in several batches.
For a crisp, crackling-like skin, cover the pan for most of the cooking time, uncovering it to turn the chicken occasionally. Remove the cover for the last 5 minutes or so of frying time. The chicken is done when it is golden brown and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. The thighs and legs should cook in 20 to 25 minutes, the wings in 18 to 20 minutes, and the breast in 15 minutes or so. If the oil temperature drops, let it heat back up before adding more chicken.
Drain fried chicken on paper towels; repeat with remaining uncooked chicken.
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