2 (3 1/2 lb)
frying chicken, each cut into 8 pieces
fresh ground black pepper
all-purpose flour, plus
onions, coarsely chopped
green bell peppers, cored,seeded,and coarsely chopped
celery, coarsely chopped
- Trim the excess fat from the chicken pieces and sprinkle them with 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
- Season 2 cups of the flour with the remaining salt and pepper; dredge the chicken in the flour until coated on all sides (shake off any excess flour).
- Over medium heat, heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet (cast-iron is best) until the edge of a chicken piece dipped into the oil gives off a lively sizzle.
- Add as many chicken pieces into the skillet as you can, but make sure the pieces do not touch.
- Fry until the chicken pieces are browned on all sides, about 6 minutes; adjust the heat as necessary during frying to keep a lively sizzle without overbrowning.
- Remove the fried chicken to drain and repeat with the remaining pieces.
- When all the chicken pieces have been fried, pour off all but 4 tablespoons of drippings from the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and add the onions, peppers, and celery to the skillet.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
- Move the vegetables to one side of the skillet and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour over the other side of the skillet; cook the flour until golden brown, stirring constantly--be careful not to let the flour burn.
- Slowly pour in the water and stir until the gravy is smooth.
- Divide the chicken between two heavy skillets with lids or place them all in a large heavy Dutch oven.
- Top with the gravy and vegetables; cover tightly.
- Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
- Serve, spooning some of the gravy and vegetables over each piece of chicken; pass the extra gravy.