Rosemary Fried Chicken recipe by Fernay McPherson of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, with introduction from We Are La Cocina.
In 1961, when Fernay's mom, Loretta, stepped off the Greyhound bus after a three-day ride from Port Arthur, Texas, escaping the sticky heat of the South, Fernay's grandmother, Lillie Bell Riley served fried chicken and pound cake to welcome her to foggy San Francisco. In 1981, the city built the Ella Hill Hutch Center, a community space that replaced the courts right outside Fernay's house. When the Center, or the hood, needed someone to cater parties, they would call Fernay. When there was a barbecue or a baptism, she would pull out the recipes that her grandmother had taught her and get to work: baked turkey wings, her mother's macaroni and cheese, gumbo, okra, green beans, and rosemary friend chicken.
2 pounds [910 g] chicken wings, drumettes and flats only
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup [60 ml] hot sauce, plus more for serving
Rice bran oil, for frying
2 cups [280 g] all-purpose flour
6 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped
1 tablespoon salt
Place the wings on a wire rack in a single layer for 30 minutes to bring them to room temperature and dry them out.
In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper. Toss the wings with the spice mixture. Add the hot sauce and toss. Marinate in the mixture, refrigerated, for at least 10 minutes and up to overnight.
Pour the oil into a large, wide pan to a depth of 2 inches [5 cm]. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep fryer thermometer registers 350˚F [180˚C].
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, rosemary, and salt.
Working in two or three batches, dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and carefully lower the pieces into the hot oil. Deep-fry, turning once, until the chicken is cooked through and colored a deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes per side to ensure chicken is cooked thoroughly - especially for bigger pieces. (The temperature will drop when you add the chicken; don’t worry, it will come back up as the chicken fries.) Cook to internal temperature of 160F. Drain the chicken on a wire rack, toss with more hot sauce (or reserve some for those who prefer it without) and serve.
Note: Check local natural food stores for rice bran oil or order it online; its high smoke point works well for deep-frying.
Reprinted from We Are La Cocina by Leticia Landa and Caleb Zigas with permission by Chronicle Books, 2019
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