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Fried Yard Bird (Chicken) with Gravy

By Marcus Samuelsson From Moveable Feast Season 1, Ep.9
Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

At Ginny’s Supper Club in Harlem, chef Marcus Samuelsson is known for his fried chicken, a recipe inspired by his Swedish grandmother and influenced by his African roots, with the use of berbere, an Ethiopian chile spice blend.  This adapted version of his original has been simplified for the home cook.


For the fried chicken

  • 6 bone–in, skin–on chicken thighs
  • 6 bone–in, skin–on chicken drumsticks
  • 16 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk, well stirred
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1 Tbs. berbere (optional)
  • 5-6 cups peanut oil for frying
  • 1 large sprig of rosemary
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Kosher salt

For the gravy

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbs. finely chopped shallots
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbs. bourbon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mace
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Marinate the chicken

  • Arrange the chicken in a nonreactive baking dish large enough to accommodate the pieces in one layer.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the coconut milk, buttermilk, 2 cloves of the smashed garlic, the lime juice, berbere (if using), and 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper until well blended. Pour the marinade over the chicken and turn to coat each piece. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

Fry the chicken

  • Bring the chicken to room temperature before frying (about 30 minutes). Put the flour, cornstarch, and 1 Tbs. salt into a shallow bowl and mix well.  Shake the excess marinade from the chicken. Toss each piece in the flour mixture to coat, knocking off the excess. Arrange the coated chicken on a large wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 200°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and put in the oven.
  • Heat 2 inches of oil in a 4– to 5–quart Dutch oven. Add the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and the rosemary to the oil and heat over medium-high until a deep fat/candy thermometer clipped to the side of the saucepan without touching the bottom registers 350°F. Using tongs, remove and discard the garlic and rosemary once they begin to turn golden.
  • Fry the chicken thighs, turning occasionally and adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 170ºF when inserted into the thickest part of each piece, about 20 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to the paper-towel-lined tray to drain and keep warm. Fry the drumsticks in the same manner, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the gravy

  • Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan over low heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the remaining milk, ½ cup at a time, until well blended. Stir in the bourbon, mace, and 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and simmer for 5 more minutes, stirring constantly. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve the gravy with the chicken.


Berbere is available online at www.myspiceage.com.Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.

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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • allyson_99 | 06/24/2018

    I made this for my family and we found it quite dull and have a lack of flavor. I then on chef Samuelsson's web site and he has what is called a recipe for "chicken shake" which has a lot more spices (celery salt, hot paprika and cumin plus other spices). It puzzles me that he would lend his name to a less than stellar and inaccurate reproduction of his recipe.

  • margaretstewart | 01/19/2015

    Wanted to make this recipe after seeing on TV tonight but wasn't sure what to do at one point. I thought he fried chicken twice, but from the written recipe it says something about heating oven to 200 degrees but doesn't say what to do then. Would sure like to try this recipe, hope someone can enlighten me as what to do after heating oven.

  • JannisMcKiddleby | 01/19/2014

    I made this last night for when neighbors came over for dinner. I didn't have a thermometer, so I made sure to buy organic, free-range chicken so the pieces were not too big, and I used peanut oil as described and a very heavy dutch oven. I followed the recipe exactly, but left out the berbere because I didnt have any, and I didnt made the gravy because it sounded too heavy. The chicken was delicious. Perfect, in fact. Moist, tender, not too salty, just right. For sides we served steamed corn, dinner rolls made with buttermilk (using recipe from the book Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day), and mesclun salad with veggies, goat cheese, and crispy garlic from epicurious.com. Yum.http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Mesclun-Salad-with-Veggies-Goat-Cheese-and-Crispy-Garlic-51103600

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