Finger-Lickin' Chicken Pan Gravy

" 'Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers." That's what Shakespeare said anyway and this pan gravy for chicken will make you do that and smack your lips, too. We're talking home made gravy here--the kind without monosodium glutamate.

MSG means cargoes of factory food bound for the supermarket shelves. I call it nasty. If you haven't rid your kitchen cupboards of this ingredient yet, do so now. It has no flavor of its own and is often produced synthetically. It's a flavor enhancer that is causing a lot of controversy. In some people, it produces chest pains, facial pressure, burning sensations and headaches--often called "the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome". Note: if you are buying canned or bottled gravy (at a buck fifty a pop) or the packets you mix up with water--you are using monosodium glutamate!

When frying up a batch of chicken, there are a few hints to make it the best. Try using young fryers, because they are the tenderest. A big capon may look cheap, but it is going to be tougher and less tasty. Experiment with marinating your chicken a day ahead of time in some buttermilk or a mild white wine flavored with fresh herbs. Season the chicken with salt and pepper before you bread it and make sure your oil is good and hot before you place your chicken in it, otherwise the breading becomes saturated and falls off. Now, for some easy Pan Gravy, you'll need:

2 TB              flour
2 cups            cold milk
1/8 tsp           cayenne pepper
1 1/4 tsp         worchestershire sauce
1 TB              fresh lemon juice
to taste          salt or chicken base

After you've fried up your chicken, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil. Loosen up all the browned pieces in the pan. These little bits are important for a good gravy. Stir in the flour and cook it until it's lightly brown. Raise the heat up some and add the rest of your ingredients. Cook until slightly thickened. Lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes and season it the way you like it. I like to add some chicken base (without MSG!) for flavoring. And as always, a creative cook is a good cook.