Monday, May 04, 2009

Fried chicken thighs smothered in gravy

Fried chicken is pure comfort. Smother chicken in gravy and the comfort rating climbs through the roof. With mashed potatoes, this is one of the finest camp meals around. I'd only rate chicken fried steak higher.

That's just what I did two weeks ago at the 3rd Annual IDOS Region II Dutch Oven Gathering at the Stockton Delta KOA campground. My original intent was to cook chicken fried steak, but I couldn't find enough beef cube steam at my local supermarket. So I switched to chicken thighs as they were on sale in large packages.

I didn't write a recipe down for this dish. I started the chicken around 3 p.m. Since meal time was at 6 p.m., I could've started frying the chicken at 4 p.m.

Here are my notes as I wrote them in my camp cooking notebook:

  • Purchased 2 packages of chicken thighs with 12 pieces each.
  • Soaked 24 chicken thighs in 1 quart of buttermilk overnight in 2 Rubbermade containers; placed the chicken in the ice cooler.
  • In camp, drained off the buttermilk.
  • Combined 2 packages of Ranch-style dressing mix with about 3 cups of all-purpose flour.
  • Heated 1/4-inch vegetable oil in 17-inch Lodge skillet over a bed of hot coals.
  • When oil was hot, dredged each chicken thigh in flour mixture and placed in hot oil, skin-side down.
  • Fried chicken until golden brown on each side, 12 pieces at a time.
  • As chicken browned, moved the pieces around in the skillet to compensate for cold and hot spots.
  • Baked chicken in camp oven with 2 Lazzari coals on the lid only; couldn't use bottom coals because camp oven was on grass.
  • When browned, placed chicken in 14-inch Lodge camp oven.
  • To make gravy, added leftover flour mixture to hot oil to make blond roux; stirred as roux cooked for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Built gravy with 2 quarts milk and 1-quart chicken stock.
  • This was too much gravy for 24 pieces of chicken, but would've been okay if I'd made mashed potatoes.
  • Drained excess oil from camp oven, then poured gravy over chicken and continued cooking until meal time.
The chicken smothered in gravy was one of the most popular dished at meal time. I only took four pieces (and a bunch of extra gray!) home, which made a couple of good lunches during the week.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Sorry for the deletion. I was trying it as an experiment. This recipe still rocks! Thanks... Ed