Mid western fried chicken

When you think of Southern soul food, fried chicken often comes to mind. The crisp well-seasoned skin, rendered of excess fat is a hallmark of well made fried chicken that has been a Southern staple since before the American Civil War. Interestingly though, the South isn’t the only place in America that has amazing fried chicken. Midwestern-style fried chicken offers a different joy that allows gravy to be the star of the dish. While both recipes begin the same way of soaking the chicken briefly in buttermilk and frying the bird until crisp, Midwestern-style fried chicken then veers off and bakes the chicken until the meat begins to sag on the bone, allowing for a creamy, rich gravy to be made from the sticky brown pan deposits to be poured over an even more flavorful baked and fried chicken. 

If you’re a fan of Southern soul food, having this Midwestern fried chicken with gravy is a must-try. Adapted from “The New Midwestern Table” by Amy Thielen, this recipe makes for a great, perfectly-fried chicken dinner that will leave everyone at the dinner table hoping for seconds! 

Midwestern Fried Chicken with Gravy
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
40 min
  1. One 4- to 4 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 10 pieces
  2. 1 cup buttermilk
  3. Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  5. 7 cloves garlic, smashed
  6. 1 1/2 cups plus 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  7. 1 cup finely ground butter crackers, such as Ritz or Club (about 1 sleeve)
  8. 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  9. About 2 cups lard or canola oil, for frying
  10. 1 small bunch fresh sage
  11. 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, low-sodium store-bought or homemade
  12. Mashed potatoes, for serving
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  1. Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl, and add the buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the thyme, and 4 of the garlic cloves. Marinate for at least 1 hour at room temperature or, refrigerated, overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and set a baking sheet fitted with a rack on the middle shelf.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the chicken coating: Combine the 1 1/2 cups flour, the ground crackers, 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and the paprika in a large bowl. One at a time, take the chicken pieces from the buttermilk and dunk them in the flour dredge, pressing hard to make the coating adhere to every spot. Set aside on a plate.
  4. In a large, high-sided cast-iron pan, add lard or oil to a depth of 1 inch. Heat over medium-high heat until a droplet of water sprinkled on the surface sizzles loudly.
  5. Give the chicken pieces a fresh roll in the flour mixture if they've absorbed it, and add as many pieces of the dark meat (thighs, wings, and drumsticks) as will fit comfortably in the pan. Fry, turning as needed, until all sides turn dark golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to the baking sheet in the oven. Continue frying the rest, saving the white breast meat until last, and being careful not to burn the residue forming at the bottom the pan; that's your gravy base. When it is browned, add the chicken to the baking sheet. (Ideally the dark meat should bake in the oven for about 20 minutes and the light meat for about 10 minutes, until cooked through.)
  6. Pour off most of the fat in the pan, leaving 2 tablespoons of oil and the brown sludge at the bottom of the pan. (But if any of it looks burnt, discard that as well, because that is the base of your gravy.) Let the pan cool down for a minute. Then add the remaining 3 garlic cloves and the sage, and fry for 1 minute. Add the remaining 5 teaspoons flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture is smooth and light brown, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and whisk until smooth. Cook the gravy over low heat until it thickens softly, about 5 minutes.
  7. Season the gravy with salt and pepper to taste, remove the garlic and sage, and pour it into a spouted pitcher to pass behind the hot chicken and the mashed potatoes.
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Adapted from "The New Midwestern Table" by Amy Thielen (c) Clarkson Potter, 2013
Adapted from "The New Midwestern Table" by Amy Thielen (c) Clarkson Potter, 2013
Surf and Sunshine https://www.surfandsunshine.com/
For more delicious, homemade recipes like this Midwestern Fried Chicken with Gravy meal, tune in to Heartland Table with Amy Thielen on the Food Network. Recipe provided by and used with permission from The Food Network.

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