Dinner together as a family was a given growing up. It was a part of our daily routine, a time when our parents would check in with us and we would see one another. As an adult, I appreciate this routine as having been a foundation to my desire for, and expectations and practice of, the great gift of Christian community.
These days, when people want to gather with friends, going out to eat seems to be the norm. The cooks of the house deserve a break, and we want pampering, control and options without obligations. It makes sense then that Sunday brunch is a national pastime. But for many of us, the most-special occasions still tend to be celebrated at home.
Growing up, friends were welcome in our house anytime, all the time. The busyness of life kept it from becoming an all-out clubhouse, but every special occasion was celebrated at home with friends and family. For birthdays and other special occasions, Mother would prepare traditional, gourmet and “junk food” feasts for us and our friends, as her mother had done before her. When I met my mother’s childhood friends as a young adult, they all wanted to tell me stories of how truly special my grandmother made them feel, how she would invite them all to the house and prepare beautiful delicacies not typically shared with children at that time.
As a young adult dedicated to fulltime ministry in the church, and with the help of my sisters, we opened our home as generously as possible to all our familiar and new friends, as well as anyone they might invite — for planned celebrations, ad hoc meals, or simply stopping by. Over time our gatherings have become a spiritual family with lots of little ones running around. What began as daily “family dinners” have become a smattering of anticipated (highly, by me) annual events. The occasions are bigger and take more planning, but they still feel normal.
The Easter season is a perfect time to gather with loved ones for a home-cooked Sunday meal. I offer a preparation of buttermilk fried chicken. Let it marinate the night before you plan to fry, invite your family and friends, squeeze up some tart fresh lemonade, and ice your favorite beers and beverages. May you enjoy being together. Happy eating!
Photo: Angela Kim
Sunday fried chicken
3½-pound chicken, cut in eight pieces
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 quarts high-temperature oil (peanut, rice bran, canola)
Soak chicken in buttermilk with salt, dried basil, dried thyme, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne and onion. Let marinate at least 6 hours or overnight in refrigerator. Drain chicken. Heat oil in large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet to 350 degrees. While oil is heating, in large paper bag, combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder and pepper. Toss mixture with hands or fork. Place chicken in bag, fold over tightly and shake like the dickens. Let sit for 3 minutes then shake again. Carefully remove chicken pieces to a wire rack set over a prep pan and let dry for 7 to 10 minutes. Fry chicken a few pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan, for 15 to 21 minutes depending on size of piece, turning once at the halfway mark. Allow oil to return to 350 degrees between batches. Happy cooking!
Northwest Catholic - April 2019