Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fried Chicken Biscuits

So guess what I'm doing in October. The Color Me Rad 5k! Remember when I made a resolution to do a 5k this year? Well I'm keeping it. No, it's not a crazy mud run, though my sister and I want to do one of those too sometime. It pretty much sounds like the most delightful situation you could put yourself in when running. At every kilometer you get this color dust thrown on you so that at the end you look like a walking rainbow. Doesn't that sound fun?! I'm running as an individual even though I'll be running with my sister, but I had to come up with a team name. Will and I brainstormed and finally came up with Rainbow: First Blood. Like Rambo: First Blood but...Rainbow because it's a color run. Get it?!

So obviously in the coming months I'll need to carbo-load. With fried chicken biscuits. What could go wrong?

These biscuits come together in three-ish parts. Step one: Make a simple buttermilk biscuit. You'll need: all-purpose flour, butter, buttermilk, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

As always, give the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt a good whisk.

Add your cold butter and cut it in with a pastry blender. Or a couple of knives. I've never actually used the knife method because I really like my pastry blender.

You want the butter to be about the size of small pebbles.

 Stir in your buttermilk.
And you should get a shaggy dough that'll come together when you pat it out.

 I prefer to pat my dough to about a 1/2" thickness as opposed to rolling it with a rolling pin. It's probably not as precise, but biscuits aren't exactly a highfalutin undertaking.

Use a two-inch biscuit cutter to cut out as many biscuits as you can. I got about seven out of this batch.

Bake about 15 minutes in a 400º oven.

In the meantime, put together your honey glaze. It's just a little honey, thyme, and bourbon. You can leave out the bourbon if you abstain.

Heat the honey and bourbon over medium heat until the honey has loosened up and blends with the bourbon.
Add a few sprigs of thyme and steep off the heat for 5-10 minutes. Discard the thyme leaves.

See that biscuit? It's about to get the treatment.

Brush the tops of the warm biscuits with the honey glaze. I would pay for someone to do this to my face.

And now, the hard part. Which really isn't all the hard as frying goes. You'll need: Flour, black pepper, paprika, cayenne, salt, and chicken thighs.

These are boneless, skinless thighs that I cut into smaller pieces to make them biscuit-appropriate. You could use breasts if you prefer white meat, but I like a thigh. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over the chicken.

Season your flour with more salt and pepper, plus paprika and cayenne. Add a few pieces of chicken and coat them with flour. Make sure you get all the nooks and crannies.

Carefully place about four pieces of chicken in about an inch of peanut oil that's been heated to about 365º. An easy test is to drop a little flour in the oil first. If it sizzles the oil is ready. If it doesn't, let it heat some more. If it pops at you, it's too hot. Cover the pan and let it brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken, cover, and let it fry until golden on the other side. I will note that I probably could've used a little less oil in this pan.

Drain your pieces of chicken on a wire rack that has paper towels under it to catch the grease.

 I think these biscuits are best with a little more of that honey glaze drizzled over the chicken and open biscuit.
A tender, buttery biscuit never had a better match than a crispy bite of fried chicken. Except for maybe country ham. Or sausage. Whatevs, I'm in training.

Fried Chicken Biscuits (makes 6-8 biscuits)

2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
8 tbs unsalted butter, very cold
2/3 c buttermilk

Honey Glaze:
1/4 c honey
1 tbs bourbon
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme

Fried Chicken:
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt, plus more for chicken
1/4 tsp black pepper, plus more for chicken
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into biscuit-sized pieces
Peanut oil, for frying

  • Preheat oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. For biscuits, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter and cut it in with a pastry blender. When the butter is the size of small pebbles, stir in the buttermilk until a shaggy dough just forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and pat or roll into a round about 1/2" thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake biscuits 13-15 minutes.
  • While biscuits are baking, combine honey and bourbon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until the honey has dissolved into the bourbon, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme sprigs. Steep 5-10 minutes and discard thyme. Brush biscuit tops with the honey glaze while they're still warm.
  • For the chicken, whisk together flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Sprinkle additional salt and pepper over the chicken pieces. Begin heating about an inch of oil in a medium cast iron skillet. Coat chicken with the flour mixture, making sure to get all the nooks and crannies. Add about four pieces of chicken to the hot oil and cover. Cook 4-5 minutes or until golden brown on one side, then flip the chicken. Cover and cook an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden brown on the other side. Remove chicken and drain on a wire rack or paper towels. Repeat until all the chicken has been fried.
  • Slice biscuits in half and top with chicken and more honey glaze. Eat with gusto.

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