Memphis Y'all: Two Months Midsouth

Pan-Fried Chicken and Microwavable Mashed Potatoes | June 6, 2010

Pan-Fried Chicken

Adapted from The Southern Cook’s Handbook


1 package chicken tenders

¾ cup vegetable oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper to taste


Dice chicken to bite size pieces. Rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Pour flour into gallon sized plastic bag. Add chicken and toss chicken in flour until it is coated.

Heat oil in skillet at medium. When the oil begins to simmer, toss in a pinch of flour. If the flour sizzles the oil is ready. If it pops or burns the oil is too hot. If the flour sinks, the oil is too cold. The oil should come up to about half of the chicken pieces (see picture).

Place the chicken in the oil, leaving space between the pieces. Sprinkle the chicken generously with salt and pepper. When the pieces start to brown, give them a flip. The smaller the pieces, the quicker they will cook, so keep a close eye. As the pieces finish cooking, set them on a plate covered with a napkin to absorb excess oil. You may have to adjust the heat of the stove throughout frying to ensure that your oil does not get too hot or cool.


I was happy that the chicken came out the first time I tried this recipe! How wonderful to be able to say, “Honey, why don’t I fry you up some ‘shickn while you put your feet up and relax a spell.”

Because I was afraid of disaster, I opted out of making sides the old-fashioned, homemade way.  Instead, I went to the neighborhood Schnucks and got myself a small can of the early peas, a jar of Heinz Chicken Gravy and some single serving microwave mashed potatoes.

Let me tell you about these microwavable mashed potatoes. They’re not very delicious. I’m still braking in the new microwave but that does not excuse the burnt, dry mess that was my single-serving container after a four-minute spin. Please look at the picture at the top of this post. Yea, and it didn’t taste much better than it looked—except when dipped in that bowl of gravy.

Dad said that there’s no excuse to buy frozen mashed potatoes because the homemade kind are so very easy. Any tips from the home-style cooks out there?


Posted in Recipe


  1. My goodness, Emily, your father is right! Get potatoes. Wash them. Cut them up. Put them in water and boil them. Stick a fork in them to see if they are done. Mash (skins on for more nutrition) with some milk, butter and even ranch dressing or sour cream, a couple of shakes of salt and pepper.

    Comment by Diana Dawson — June 7, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  2. Indeed, and while you are making your own mashed potatoes use the extra milk to make gravy.

    1) Drain the oil from the pan that you cooked the chicken in retaining all the crispy bits and about 1/4 cup of the oil (keep more oil if you want more gravy).

    2) Add roughly equal amount of flour (i.e. 1/4 cup), stirring it into the oil. You will have the right amount of oil/flour mixture when the flour absorbs the oil and forms a slightly thick roux.

    3) At this point, if you want the gravy to be brown you can heat the roux until it becomes copper colored. Be careful to stir constantly and keep the heat at medium high, so as not to burn the roux. If making milk gravy, it’s best not to toast the roux.

    4) Add about 1 1/2 – 2 cups liquid (either milk or chicken broth) with stirring until the liquid and roux come together in a thin gravy. Cook the gravy over medium low heat until it achieves the thickness that you want. Be careful, as it will continue to thicken as it cools but you can always add more liquid.

    5) Salt and pepper to taste

    6) Enjoy

    Comment by Dad — June 17, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

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