When I grew up in Chicago in the ’60s and ’70s, Sundays were family days. We’d drive to Grandma’s little brick bungalow on the South side and a bunch of our aunts, uncles and cousins would gather too. While the grownups talked, we kids would find some way to entertain ourselves, heading to the corner park to figure out what dangerous gymnastic maneuvers we could accomplish balancing on, or jumping off the merry-go-round or moving swings. Bored of that, we’d play blind-mans-bluff, or some sort of ball game in the alley until we lost the ball. But whatever the day held, afternoons would always finish with everybody gathering around the big, dark-walnut dining room table for some version of this delicious meal: fricasseed chicken & onions, green beans and carrots, whipped potatoes and a light slaw grandma made by shredding iceberg lettuce with a little cabbage, and dousing it in a sweet/sour dressing. The plain, friendly flavors marry better than any other combination I know. I’ve updated the recipe just a bit (Grandma didn’t use panko bread crumbs and olive oil mayo wasn’t sold yet) but this remains our favorite family comfort meal–add corn on the cobb and fresh-from-the garden sliced tomatoes in the summer.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Grandma's Chicken Ingredients
- 6 bone-in chicken thighs
- 6 chicken drumsticks
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups panko bread crumbs, or more, as needed
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup rice bran oil ( or other high-heat cooking oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 Tbsp finely minced parsley
Grandma's Lettuce & Cabbage Slaw Ingredients
- 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cored, finely shredded
- 1/4 head green cabbage, cored, finely shredded
- 1 bunch green onions or chives, sliced fine (include some of the whites of the onions)
- 1 cup small cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- fresh cracked pepper
Slaw Dressing Ingredients
- 2 Tbsp pure cane or turbinado sugar
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup canola or olive oil mayonnaise
Green Beans & Carrots & Whipped Potatoes Ingredients
- 6 cups fresh green beans, ends snipped & discarded, beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup carrots, cut into small pieces
- 1 tsp melted butter
- salt & pepper to taste
- For Potatoes: seven Idaho potatoes, peeled, cut into pieces, 1/4 cup milk, 2 Tbsp butter, salt and pepper to taste
- Pat chicken dry. In a large plastic bag, combine flour with paprika, pepper and salt.
- In a second bowl, whisk egg with buttermilk and season with ground pepper.
- In a third bowl, place bread crumbs.
- Set up an assembly line next to your stovetop. Place chicken first, bag of seasoned flour next, buttermilk/egg mixture third, and bread crumbs last.
- In a large heavy skillet, heat 1/2 cup cooking oil until shimmering.
- Take a piece of chicken, shake it in the seasoned flour bag, remove to the buttermilk/egg wash, roll to completely coat, remove from buttermilk and roll in the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken in frying pan.
- Repeat this process until your have filled the frying pan with chicken. Brown until crisp on one side; carefully turn chicken and brown until crisp on the second side.
- If there are more pieces of chicken, repeat process again.
- Remove the chicken to an oven roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350. Very thinly slice the onion and cover the chicken with onion rings. Sprinkle finely minced parsley over all. Cover roasting pan and place chicken in oven for 1 hour.
- While chicken is roasting, make vegetables: Combine sliced green beans with carrot pieces and steam until al dente. Toss with butter; salt and pepper to taste. Set aside; keep warm. Peel potatoes, cut into pieces and boil in water until tender. Drain water. Place cooked potatoes back in pan. Add 1/4 cup milk and 2 Tbsp butter, plus salt and pepper to taste, to the potatoes. Whip until light and fluffy. Set aside; keep warm.
- Make slaw: Combine lettuce, cabbage, green onion, salt, pepper and cherry tomatoes.
- Make dressing: In a jar, dissolve sugar in warm water; add vinegar and mayonnaise and shake until liquid. Do not pour over salad until right before dinner is served or salad will wilt. You might not need all of the dressing to coat the salad.