Extra-Crispy Birthday Fried Chicken with Biscuits & Milk Gravy

Every spring, along with my husband’s special (made to order!) birthday dinner, I like to share part of the springtime experience at my house. In the past, I’ve complained about the goose families (with their beautiful goslings…) and the ducks who’ve seemed to chase them away. The new development this year is that my son (and husband) have been chasing the geese away with a drone!

  IMG_4083  IMG_4078

The house finches returned but have moved their nest from our entrance column to the top of our propane gas tank! BUT… The extraordinary event this year was that we have had frequent visits from a very special Night Heron. What fun!

IMG_4530

Well, onto the food. My husband has had little variation in his birthday dinner menu request for the past several years. Although I did repeat my caesar salad and vanilla bean cheesecake recipes (his true favorites), I spiced up the celebration by trying new fried chicken and biscuit recipes. This year, he asked for double fried chicken. After researching, I realized that this really means double battered fried chicken, not literally double fried. It had the most amazing crispy and thick crust with just the right amount of spice. The birthday boy loved it! We ate leftovers for days and never tired of it. Absolutely delicious. (He may even want it again for Father’s Day!)

The chicken recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. It did seem like a labor intensive recipe, and required planning in advance, but the chilling and resting times involved helped the breading adhere to the chicken meat. I doubled the recipe and pan-fried (instead of deep-frying) the chicken in Ukrainian sunflower oil. I also omitted the bourbon and used Sriracha instead of Frank’s hot sauce in the batter.

I served this indulgent meal with a side of creamy macaroni and cheese and with our new “Happy Birthday” fork! 🙂

I’m bringing this special birthday meal to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #123 this week co-hosted by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 8

For the Chicken:

  • 4 tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 10 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the Assembly:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 T garlic powder
  • 2 T onion powder
  • 2 T paprika
  • 4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 T coarse salt, plus more
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 T bourbon (optional)(I omitted it)
  • 6 T hot sauce (such as Sriracha or Frank’s); plus more for serving (optional)
  • 2-3 cups sunflower, peanut or other vegetable oil, for frying

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Trim chicken and dry on paper towels.
  2. Mix salt, sugar, and baking powder in a small bowl. Season chicken all over with salt mixture (you may not need all of it).
  3. Chill uncovered on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. (I let it sit for about 12 hours.)

Assemble the Chicken:

  1. Whisk flour, cornstarch, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, and 4 T salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Whisk egg, buttermilk, bourbon (if using), and 3 T hot sauce in another medium bowl.
  3. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and packing into crevices. Shake to remove excess; return to rack.
  4. Pour 6 T buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and work in with your fingers.
  5. Dip chicken into remaining buttermilk mixture, allow excess to drip off, then pack moistened flour mixture firmly onto chicken. Gently shake off excess; return to rack. Chill at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours.
  6. Pour oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet, about 1/2-inch deep. Heat over medium-high until a deep fry thermometer registers 350°. (I was diligent about maintaining the temperature throughout the cooking process.)
  7. Working in batches, fry two chicken thighs at a time, turning often and adjusting heat to maintain temperature, until deep golden brown, about 6 minutes per batch.
  8. Transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels to drain.

For the Biscuits:

This simple biscuit recipe is unlike any other I’ve made in the past. The dough is prepared and then rests at room temperature for 30 minutes. The result was wonderful! This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton.

Yield: Serves 8   Time: 1 hour

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 T baking powder
  • 1 scant T sugar
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 5 T cold, unsalted butter, preferably European style
  • 1 cup whole milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Pulse flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor (or whisk to combine in a large bowl).
  3. Cut butter into pats and add to flour, then pulse 5 or 6 times until the mixture resembles rough crumbs. (Alternatively, cut butter into flour in the mixing bowl using a fork or a pastry cutter.)
  4. Return dough to bowl, add milk and stir with a fork until it forms a rough ball.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and pat it down into a rough rectangle, about an inch thick. Fold it over and gently pat it down again. Repeat.
  6. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Gently pat out the dough some more, so that the rectangle is roughly 10 inches by 6 inches.
  8. Cut dough into biscuits using a floured glass or biscuit cutter. Do not twist cutter when cutting; this crimps the edges of the biscuit and impedes its rise.
  9. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake until golden brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

For the Milk Gravy (recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman):

  • 3 T fried chicken pan drippings
  • 2-3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add pan drippings and flour. Whisk immediately. It should be smooth.
  2. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to brown, 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup of milk. Cook until desired thickness is achieved- adding more milk if desired.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut biscuits in half and pour gravy over the top to serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Three Years Ago:

Advertisements

Coke-Brined Fried Chicken with Biscuits & Gravy

IMG_4098

Springtime brings the obvious pleasures of green grass, flowers, fresh air, eating outside, etc. But every year at my house, we also have a little house finch who builds her nest (with her significant other) next to our door. She sits there so sweetly. She sings. She drives our cat crazy! 🙂

IMG_3866

We also usually struggle with Canadian geese all over our lawn… but this year our yard has been claimed by a duck couple.  They walk side by side in conversation completely fearless of the real homeowners! They swim side by side on our pool cover. Such a nice change from the geese. I am assuming we will be welcoming ducklings soon. 🙂

Another springtime event in my world is my husband’s birthday dinner. It requires a lot of thought (on his part), a lot of cooking (on my part), and usually a lot of indulgence. This year was no exception! But, I am going to have to tell you that it was really really good.

My husband grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and has a real love for southern food. It’s just hearty and comforting – and good. 🙂 After he decided on his wish list menu, I searched far and wide for the perfect fried chicken recipe. This Coke-brined version was adapted from Willie Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans, Louisiana by way of John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi via the New York Times, contributed by Sam Sifton. (Credit needs to be paid when credit is due!) The Coke tenderizes the meat but also results in deep-mahogany brown, sweet, super-moist chicken. I modified the recipe to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs- of course! Delicious- and the leftovers were wonderful cold as well.

My husband’s wish list menu also included biscuits and gravy, macaroni and cheese (a side dish in the South!), caesar salad (yes- there was actually something green), and vanilla bean birthday cheesecake. (I mentioned it was an indulgent meal, right?) I made the fabulous giant biscuits I had made in the past for Fried Chicken Biscuits. Why mess with perfection? The milk gravy recipe was adapted from The Pioneer Woman.com. Yum!

This dish is the “grand finale” of my chicken thigh “festival”!! (for now, anyway…) Happy Birthday, Mr. Brookcook! 🙂

IMG_3031

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

For the Coke-Brined Fried Chicken:

For the Brine:

  • 5 cups Coca-Cola (I used 3 12-oz cans)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 4 teaspoons mild hot sauce like Sriracha, Crystal, Texas Pete or Cholula
  • 10 to 15 boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Seasoned Flour:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For Frying:

  • 3 cups peanut oil
  • 1 cup lard, optional, or replace with peanut oil

For Serving:

  • Hot sauce, optional
  1. Make the brine: Combine cola, salt, thyme, garlic and hot sauce in a large glass bowl and stir until the salt has dissolved. Add the chicken thighs, cover and refrigerate 3 to 5 hours. (Longer will break down the meat.)
  2. Make the seasoned flour: In a wide, shallow bowl or pan, combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.
  3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Put the peanut oil in a large heavy-bottom pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until it reaches 375 degrees on a candy thermometer. While the oil heats, remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. (I did this in batches.)
  4. Dredge the thighs in the flour and shake to remove excess.
  5. Working in batches of 2 or 3 at a time, carefully lower thighs with tongs into the hot oil. The oil temperature will plummet when the cold chicken goes into the pan; turn up the heat and carefully monitor the temperature. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on one side, 3 minutes on the other, and then a final 2 minutes on the first side. Remove to a wire rack over a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  6. The juices should run clear when the chicken is poked with a knife. If necessary, transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet and bake until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees on a instant-read thermometer. Serve hot or at room temperature with hot sauce, biscuits, and gravy, as desired.

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cups chilled buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Pulse baking powder, salt, sugar, baking soda, and flour in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Mix in buttermilk with a fork, then gently knead just until a shaggy dough comes together.
  3. Pat out dough on a lightly floured surface until 1¼” thick. Cut out biscuits with a 3” biscuit cutter, rerolling scraps once.
  4. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes (on convection) or up to 30–35 minutes.

For the Milk Gravy:

  • 3 T fried chicken pan drippings
  • 2-3 T all-purpose flour
  • 1-2 cups milk (I used 1 percent)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add pan drippings and flour. Whisk immediately. It should be smooth.
  2. Keep stirring until the mixture begins to brown, 2-3 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan.
  3. Whisk in 1 cup of milk. Cook until desired thickness is achieved- adding more milk if desired.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut biscuits in half and pour gravy over the top to serve.

IMG_4084

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

IMG_4064

Chicken Goulash with Biscuit Dumplings

IMG_3860

This dish was HOT. Super spicy. I was so excited to get my hands on both sweet and hot Hungarian paprika- and then even more excited to find a dish (Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best One-Pot Dish” no less) that incorporated hot paprika. Well, I don’t know if my paprika was just too fresh…

I am a fan of spicy food, but my family had to slather this spicy gravy with sour cream in order to eat it. :/ A lot of water was consumed as well. :/ I thought that the sour cream in both the sauce and the biscuits would temper the heat- or by eating each bite along with part of a fabulously moist and tender biscuit would be enough…

BUT- after saying all of that- this dish was so wonderful it definitely deserves to be made again. Smell- AMAZING. Biscuits- AMAZING. I would modify the recipe by using 1 tablespoon of hot Hungarian paprika along with 1 tablespoon of sweet paprika next time. This recipe was adapted from a Food and Wine “staff-favorite” recipe, contributed by Grace Parisi.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces (I used 10 thighs)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 5 T cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used light)
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 T hot Hungarian paprika (I would substitute 1 T sweet for half of the hot next time)
  • 3/4 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme or 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust lightly with flour.
  2. In a deep ovenproof skillet (I used enameled cast iron), melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook over high heat, turning once, until browned on both sides, 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate.
  3. Meanwhile, in a food processor, pulse the 1 1/2 cups of flour with the baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Pulse in the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Whisk 1/2 cup of the stock with 1/2 cup of the sour cream and drizzle over the dry ingredients; pulse until a dough forms.
  5. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the skillet. Stir in the paprika and caraway and cook for 30 seconds. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and 1/2 cup of sour cream and stir until smooth. Add the thyme and bring to a boil.
  7. Scoop twelve 3-tablespoon-size mounds of biscuit dough over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the biscuits are cooked. If biscuits are not golden, turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. (I omitted this step.)
  8. Serve the goulash in bowls, spooning the biscuits on top.

IMG_3863

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Milk-Braised Pork Loin

IMG_9229

This pork loin was waiting in my extra freezer to be served to a crowd… but then…  my kids left the freezer door open long enough to defrost it, along with everything else in the freezer. (No more self-serve popsicles for them!) What a cooking emergency… 🙂 At least we were able to enjoy this delicious dish. The milk gravy was especially amazing. Now I will have to make this dish again for a crowd! This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living; I doubled the garlic. We ate it with green salad and roasted potatoes and kohlrabi on the side.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 1 boneless pork loin with fat cap (4 to 5 pounds)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 5 strips fresh lemon zest (1 inch by 2 inches each; from 1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Season pork with 1 tablespoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (it should be just large enough to fit pork) over medium-high heat. (I used a 4-quart enameled cast iron pot.) Add pork, fat side down, and sear, turning as it browns, until browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Drain fat from pot and wipe out any blackened bits.
  2. Tie together sage, rosemary, and bay leaves into a bouquet with kitchen twine. Melt butter in pot over medium heat. Add herbs, garlic, and lemon zest and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Return pork, fat side up, to pot, along with any accumulated juices. Pour milk and cream over pork, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Partially cover pot, reduce heat, and simmer, undisturbed, until a thermometer inserted into thickest part of pork registers 140 degrees, about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer pork to a carving board and let rest at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes. Increase heat to medium and simmer braising liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 12 to 15 minutes. Discard herbs and lemon zest. Cut pork crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with milk gravy.

One Year Ago:

Aleppo Pepper Gravy

IMG_6521

This gravy is made with the paprika-laden pan juices from Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey. The spices give the resulting gravy a smoky and rich flavor with wonderful color. My pan juices were quite salty, and I added a lot of chicken stock to balance the taste. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living.

  • Yield: Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups
  • Pan juices from Spice-Rubbed Roast Turkey, in roasting pan
  • 1/2 to 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, plus more if needed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or Wondra gravy flour
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, optional
  1. Pour pan juices through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup or gravy separator, and skim or pour off fat. Let stand for 5 minutes, then skim off fat again.
  2. Return pan juices to roasting pan. Set pan across 2 burners over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Whisk together 1/2 cup stock and the flour in a small bowl until smooth. Add remaining 3/4 cup stock to pan juices. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in flour mixture, and return to a simmer. Cook until mixture thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Add more stock if gravy is too thick or too salty. Whisk in butter to finish, if desired. Serve warm.

One Year Ago:

Herb-Roasted Turkey with Wild Mushroom Gravy


When we moved to Long Island, one of our Thanksgiving family traditions was to purchase a fresh turkey from the local butcher.  Last year, when I had a second refrigerator for the first time, I purchased our turkey at Trader Joe’s because it was brined, and because I could store it.  My husband was skeptical.  It was the best turkey EVER.  We did it again this year, and we were not disappointed.

The Wild Mushroom Gravy was beyond amazing.  My brother helped prepare it, and he was very proud with the results.  This recipe is from Food and Wine.

Herb Roasted Turkey

For the Turkey:

  • 1 loaf of ciabatta, about 1 pound (if cooking the turkey upside-down)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus 4 large sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus 4 large sprigs
  • coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • One 19- to 20-pound turkey, neck and gizzard reserved
  • 1 large apple (I used a Granny Smith)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large celery rib, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for rubbing
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

For the Gravy:

  • 2-3 tablespoons small dried porcini pieces (or mixed dried wild mushrooms)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 24 oz golden chanterelles or a mix of cremini and oyster mushrooms, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth, plus pan drippings
  1. Let turkey stand at room temperature for one hour. Remove from packaging, drain brine, if applicable, and dry with paper towels.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, beat the butter with the garlic, chopped thyme and chopped sage and season with salt and pepper. (See note below if roasting the turkey upside-down.)
  3. Season the turkey inside and out with salt and pepper. Rub two-thirds of the herb butter under the skin and under the neck flap. Place the remaining butter in the cavity along with the thyme and sage sprigs. Tuck the wing tips under the bird and tie the legs together with kitchen string (optional).
  4. Tuck one half of the apple, rounded side out, under the neck flap, place the other half in the main cavity. Fold the neck skin under the body and secure with a skewer.
  5. Put the onion, carrot and celery in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey in the pan and add the neck (and gizzard).
  6. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil.
  7. Roast the turkey in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° and continue to roast, basting occasionally, for 2 to 3 hours longer, until an instant-read thermometer registers 165° when inserted in an inner thigh (I have had great success using the temperature probe that works through the oven.).
  9. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and let rest in a warm place for at least 25 minutes and up to 1 hour.
  10. In a small bowl, cover the porcini with 1/4 cup of hot water. Let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
  11. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and the shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes.
  12. Lift the porcini from the soaking liquid and add to the skillet. Cover and remove the skillet from the heat.
  13. Set a coarse strainer over a medium bowl. Pour in the juices and vegetables from the roasting pan and press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Skim the fat off of the juices and reserve 2 tablespoons. (I use a fat separator.)
  14. In a large saucepan, stir the reserved fat with the flour until smooth; cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  15. Gradually whisk in the strained juices and the stock and bring to a simmer, whisking.
  16. Add to the mushroom mixture and simmer over low heat, whisking often, until no floury taste remains, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  17. Carve the turkey and serve with the gravy.

2016 UPDATE:

Note: To modify this recipe and cook the turkey upside-down:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, preferably on convection. Place the roasting pan on a rimmed cookie sheet.
  2. Prepare the turkey and pan as described above.
  3. Slice the ciabatta horizontally and butter the cut sides of the bread generously.
  4. Set a V-shaped wire rack in the roasting pan and place the slices of bread side-by-side lengthwise, buttered-sides up on the rack.
  5. Place the turkey breast-side down, so it rests on the bread (not directly on the rack). Place in oven and roast 60 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and, using silicone oven mitts, carefully flip the turkey breast-side up.
  7. Add the stock into the pan. Season the skin with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, preferably on convection.
  9. Continue to cook, basting occasionally with pan juices, until the thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees.
  10. Let rest one hour before carving.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,045 other followers

Recipe Categories

my foodgawker gallery
my photos on tastespotting

Top Posts & Pages

Foodista Food Blog of the Day Badge
%d bloggers like this: