Place the chicken pieces in a basin of cold water and soak for a few minutes. remove from water and drain well; pat dry with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper.
In a large plastic bag, add flour; close the bag and shake to dust the inside of the bag.
In a large deep cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt the lard or shortening and bring to 350 degrees F. (hot but not smoking). To test temperature of oil, drop a pinch of flour into pan; flour should float and sizzle on hot oil. If flour sinks to bottom of pan and disperses, oil is not hot enough for frying.
Beginning with the dark meat dark meat takes longer to cook than white meat), drop the chicken, a few pieces at a time, into the plastic bag; close the bag and shake until the pieces are thoroughly coated. remove pieces from bag, shaking off excess flour, and place into the hot fat. Repeat until all chicken pieces are coated and in the pan.
If you do not have a large enough pan, use two pans or cook the chicken in batches. If you fry in batches, preheat the oven to 150 degrees F. to hold the cooked chicken. Do not hold chicken for more than 30 minutes or the chicken will dry out.
Reduce heat to medium; fry the chicken slowly 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottom side of each piece is a rich golden brown. Carefully turn the chicken pieces and continue cooking an additional 12 minutes or until each piece is golden brown on all sides and a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (juices will run clear when cut with the tip of a knife). Remove and let drain on paper towels.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the cooking fat. Put the skillet back over the heat and made the Cream Gravy.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
2 tablespoons pan drippings left in the skillet along with the sold cooking residue.
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups milk or cream, room temperature
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
In the same skillet in which you fried the chicken and left 2 tablespoons pan drippings, set burner heat to medium. Sprinkle flour over the fat and blend or whisk until smooth. Whisking or stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk or cream; continue stirring, scrapping loose any browned bits that may be stuck to the skillet, until the gravy begins to boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes or until gravy is thicken to the desired consistency and the flour has lost its raw, pasty taste. Remove from pan and serve hot.