Man, been crazy with work the past few days. Ok here, here are the recipes I ended up with...
For the Chicken
4lb Chicken w/Giblets (minus Liver) - diced
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Crisco (Or Lard)
For the Gravy
2-T Rendered Chicken Fat
1-oz Finely Diced Onion
1-oz Finely Diced Celery
2-T All Purpose Flour
1-C Brown Chicken Stock
1-C Whole Milk
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 Sprigs Fresh Parsley
1 Clove Garlic - Crushed
1-t Black Peppercorns
1 Bay Leaf
Freshly Ground White Pepper (Very Fine)
Break down the bird into boneless breasts and bonesless thighs. Save the drumsticks, and reserve the wings/body for stock. Resrve the giblets, discarding the liver. Butterfly the breasts/thighs, and then continue the cut dividing the pieces in two (yields 8 pieces). Place them in a container and completely cover with buttermilk. Cover and shake a few times, then refrigerate overnight for 24hrs.
Season a bowl of flour with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove the chicken pieces one at a time - drip-drain for a couple seconds, then flour the pieces. This will allow the chicken to pick up extra flour and form a thicker crust than setting the pieces on a rack to fully drain. Allow the pieces to sit until the flour has hydrated itself and resembles wall-paper paste. Thie will also allow the internal temp to rise slightly ensuring even cooking.
Heat 1/2" of solid fat in a large cast iron skillet until a few faint whisps of smoke appear (this should be about 350ºF). Cook in two batches maintaining at least 320º. The cast iron pan helps dampen the effects of the cool chicken being added. If the temp drops too much you will get greasy chicken. If you keep it too high you will get burnt chicken. Cook on the first side until you see the side of the chicken are nicely browned, then flip and finish the other side. Remove the pieces to wire cooling rack over paper towels (prevents the bottom side from becoming soggy from trapped moisture). Salt immediately to taste.
For the gravy, melt the chicken fat in a small saucier over medium heat, then add the giblets. When the giblets begin to take color, add the onions and celery. Once they have sweated out and the onions take on a faint yelow coloration add the flour. Whisk constantly and bring the Roux to a blond stage. Slowly whisk in the stock and milk. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a light boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the proper flavor and thickness is achieved. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into another saucier and return to the heat. Season with finely ground white pepper and kosher salt to taste.
I served mine with collard greens and a mashed potatoes. Yum!
The Aftermath. Dishes $%@#. Now I know why I like one pot meals...