Fried Chicken Baked in Gravy

I love talking about food and hearing about others' food experiences.  My friend Sam emails me when I post something new and we often exchange a few emails discussing various related topics to whatever I've posted.  The other day, when discussing rice, Sam shared a fried chicken dish his grandmother used to make and serve with rice.  We're calling it Estelle's Chicken.  Estelle, by the way, is a most fabulous name, and I can picture her frying that chicken with Sam looking on.  Sam's from the South and he said the last time he had that chicken was when he was eight.  That must have been some kinda chicken!  After his description of it, I immediately replied that I'm all in.  

1 Whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces, backbone removed
2 Cups buttermilk
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
Flour for dredging chicken
Approx. 1.5 cups organic vegetable shortening
1 Stick unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 Cups chicken stock

Combine the buttermilk and kosher salt.  Add the chicken and soak overnight.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and dredge each piece in the flour.  Set into a pan.
Heat oven to 375f.
Heat the shortening until melted, then add the butter.  Once the butter is melted, and bubbling, start frying the chicken in batches.  I did mine in 3 batches under medium high heat.  The goal is to par cook the chicken and fry it until it is golden brown, but does not have to be cooked through.
As you finish each batch, place the chicken onto a baking pan.
Once all of the chicken is fried, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking oil.  
Add the 3 tablespoons of flour and cook for about a minute until the flour is browned.
Add the chicken stock and stir to incorporate the flour mixture.  Let boil for about a minute.
Since the skillet I used was not large enough to fit all of the chicken, I added only half of it back into the skillet.  The rest I left in the baking pan to finish cooking in the oven.  If you have a skillet large enough, add all of the chicken in with the gravy. 
Place the skillet and the baking pan into the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Serve the chicken with the gravy and rice on the side.
It was very "southern fried" chicken tasting.  We loved it.  Thanks Sam, for sharing.  When you're back in Seattle, we'll take a little fried chicken detour.


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