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Midwestern Fried Chicken
- 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed, divided
- 1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves only, divided
- 1 cup plus 3 Tbsp flour, divided
- 1 cup finely crushed cracker crumbs (such as Ritz crackers)
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ cup lard, chicken fat or peanut oil
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Hot sauce, to taste (I like Ardvark Habanero)
Season chicken pieces with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Combine buttermilk with 3 smashed garlic cloves and half the sage. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture and marinate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine 1 cup flour, cracker crumbs and paprika. Remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Warm a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
When pan is hot, add lard, fat, or oil, and then breaded chicken pieces in a single layer (work in batches if necessary; don't crowd pan). Brown chicken on both sides until golden; transfer chicken to a baking sheet with tongs, leaving fat in pan. Bake until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
While chicken is baking, make gravy. Add remaining 3 cloves garlic and remaining sage to fat in skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes until sage crisps and garlic becomes aromatic. Add remaining 3 Tbsp flour. Whisk to combine, then cook 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup chicken stock, whisking until there are no lumps, then whisk in remaining stock. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a small saucepan and check for seasoning one more time, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce, making it as spicy as you’d like.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest 5 minutes. Serve with gravy.