Edna Lewis, The First (Known) Black Female Chef

Can you believe that it is already February? Where did January go? Anyway, at least it’s Black History Month. I love learning about individuals that don’t receive a lot of recognition. I’d like to introduce you to Edna Lewis. She is one of the first known african-american female chefs.

edna-lewis

She’s known for the very popular cookbook “The Taste of Country Cooking”, which was originally published in 1976. Edna Lewis celebrates the country cooking she grew up with on a small Virginia Piedmont farming community that had been settled by freed slaves. With menus for each of the four seasons, she shares the ways her family prepared and enjoyed food, savoring the delights of each special time of year. Edna has won numerous awards and is sometimes referred to as “the South’s answer to Julia Child.”

Since Edna Lewis is a beacon of fried chicken perfection here is her southern pan fried chicken recipe! Enjoy!

SOUTHERN PAN-FRIED CHICKEN RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • One 3-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces, brined for 8 to 12 hours (see Note)
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 1 pound lard
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup country ham pieces or 1 thick slice country ham, cut into 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  • To prep the brined chicken for frying, drain it and discard the brine. Rinse out the bowl it was brined in. Return the chicken to the bowl and pour the buttermilk over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Place the chicken on a wire rack to drain, discarding the buttermilk.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the fat for frying by putting the lard, butter, and country ham in a heavy skillet or frying pan. Cook over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes, skimming any foam as needed, until the butter ceases to throw off foam and the country ham is browned. Use a slotted spoon to remove the ham from the fat. Just before frying, increase the temperature to medium-high and heat the fat to 335°F (170°C).
  • Prepare the dredge by blending together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or on wax paper. Dredge the drained chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour mixture, then gently shake to remove all excess flour.
  • Slip some of the chicken pieces, skin side down, into the heated fat. (Do not crowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary.) Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on each side, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Drain thoroughly on a wire rack or on crumpled paper towels. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Resource

2 Comments on Edna Lewis, The First (Known) Black Female Chef

  1. BeeGee
    February 5, 2014 at 4:35 pm (8 months ago)

    I really love this so very much!!!

    Reply
    • Whitney
      February 10, 2014 at 8:52 am (8 months ago)

      Thank you for visiting the blog!

      Reply

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