In the 80s it was a special treat to visit Chez Helene, the old brick-fronted building behind Circle Foods on N. Robertson Street in New Orleans 7th Ward. The restaurant is long gone, chef Austin Leslie is deceased and while there is plenty fried chicken to be had at curbstores and corner markets none of it holds a candle to Mr. Leslie’s.
Time to visit your favorite grocery store and make the chef’s legendary recipe in your own kitchen.
Austin Leslie’s Fried Chicken Recipe
1.25 Cups Peanut Oil for frying
1 4lb Fryer cut up
Salt and Black Pepper
1 Egg, lightly beaten
1 cup Evaporated Milk
1 cup Water
.5 Cup flour
4 T. fresh minced garlic
4 T. fresh minced parsley
Dill Pickle Slices
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet to 350 F, the oil should come about halfway up the sides of the skillet. Adjust the amount in accordance with the skillet size. Combine garlic and parsley (persillade) in small mixing bowl and refrigerate.
Wash chicken pieces in cold water, pat dry with paper towels and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg, evaporated milk and water. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a separate bowl. One piece at a time, starting with heaviest pieces, dip chicken into egg wash, squeeze, dip into flour and place gently in skillet. Do not overcrowd skillet.
Maintain temperature of 350 F. Use tongs and long fork to turn chicken often for 7-8 minutes. Remove chicken from oil with tongs, pierce with fork and squeeze. Place chicken back in oil approximately 7 to 8 minutes. Chicken is done when no longer hissing and juices run clear. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. Immediately top with a sprinkle of garlic and parsley mixture. Continue until all the chicken is cooked.
Garnish each piece with a slice of dill pickle.