Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken: It's Just Chicken, But Oh, What a Chicken

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday is a politico who loves his chicken. His wife, Lorraine, has written two cookbooks, Mr. Sunday's Soups and Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken, based on Wallace's love of routine. His motto is "change is overrated." He wants a quiet evening at home the Saturday before he tapes the show. The Wallace family has chicken at home every Saturday night.

Boring, you might think. After all, it is just chicken. But Lorraine Wallace gets creative, exploring the multitude of ways to prepare, cook and serve it. In her new cookbook, Mr. Sunday's Saturday Night Chicken, Lorraine has created more than 100 chicken recipes and 35 sides to complement all those chickens.

The book is divided into the four seasons, with additional Friends and Family, Two By Two and Game Day sections. There's also "Chicken 101," which takes the reader through selecting a good bird, how much to buy, terms to know, what to watch out for, safe handling and cooking tips. Anything you ever wondered about a chicken is in this book.

Did you know there are organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, fresh, local, heritage breeds, kosher, air-chilled and retained water, enhanced, natural, free-range, hormone free, farm-raised, and cage-free types of chicken? That's a whole lot of variety for a quick run to Kroger for Saturday's supper. Lorraine Wallace makes sense of it all. She also helps the home cook make financial sense out of whole chickens, chicken pieces, boneless chicken, frozen chicken and rotisserie chicken -- good information for these tight economic times.

The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow. At the beginning of every one, Wallace lets you know how many it serves, what type of chicken is used and if it's a one-pot, pot-luck, grill or good-for-company-type recipe. The reader should pick a season and then choose a recipe. For summer, it could be Grilled Pesto Chicken, Stovetop Summer Chicken, Southern Oven "Unfried" Chicken or Skewers of Sage Chicken with Sweet Italian Sausage. For fall, there's Chicken Scaloppini with Pears; for winter, a pot of Coq au Vin; and for spring, a Low-Fat Chicken Tagine with Parsnip Puree.

Wallace isn't a trained chef but has cooked for a large family for decades. The cookbook also includes recipes from local Washington, D.C. chefs such as Art Smith, Frank Pelligrino, Billy Martin, Larry La and Rob Townsend. Smith is probably most well known for being Oprah Winfrey's personal chef, but he has moved on and has several lucrative D.C. restaurants. His fried chicken is highly sought after, and he only serves it on Sundays, because, as he says, "If you serve it every day, it stops being special." That fried chicken recipe is featured in Lorraine's book and included below. Once you've picked the chicken recipe you want, then there are 35 side recipes to choose from, with everything from Asian noodles, Creamy Cheesy grits, Corn Pudding and Southwest Chopped Salad to Vineyard Quinoa Salad. Add a pitcher of iced tea, and dinner is done. This cookbook is clearly for the home cook who is looking for some family favorites and financially feasible dishes. These are easy recipes for a complete dinner that a busy mom or dad could make with a minimum of fuss. If you're a soup aficionado, pick up Lorraine's Mr. Sunday's Soups. Chef Art Smith's Art and Soul Fried Chicken

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 4 qts cold water
  • One 4 lb chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 qt buttermilk
  • 2 Tbl hot sauce
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 11/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 11/2 tsp Chesapeake Bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

1. In a large pot, dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in the water. Submerge chicken pieces in the brine and refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain and rinse with cold water. Rinse out the pot, return the chicken and add the buttermilk and hot sauce and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, garlic powder, Chesapeake Bay seasoning, cayenne, black pepper and remaining salt.

3. Remove the chicken from buttermilk marinade, shaking off excess. Dredge the pieces in the flour mixture, dip back in buttermilk, then coat again with flour mixture.

4. Meanwhile, in large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 375 degrees. Fry chicken in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and serve.

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