Today’s indulgence is Thomas Keller’s buttermilk fried chicken complemented with Marion Cunningham‘s cream biscuits and my favorite recipe for homemade honey apple butter. To me, this is the perfect balance between sweet and savory. If you’ve never deep fried anything before, don’t be intimidated! Choose an oil with a high smoke point, like canola oil, and make sure you heat it in a pot that has not been in contact with water because that’s when things start to get scary. Don’t overheat the oil beyond the desired temperature or else you’ll burn the chicken. As for the biscuits, they are extremely easy to make and SO soft and buttery that you’ll fall in love with them.
BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN
Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home. I scaled down the recipe for 6 chicken legs.
4 cups water
1 Tbsp pink Himalayan salt
1 Tbsp honey
3 bay leaves
1/2 head of garlic, cut horizontally
1/2 Tbsp black peppercorns
1/4 of a bunch of thyme sprigs
1/4 of a bunch of flat leafed parsley sprigs
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
Canola oil for deep-frying
For the brine, combine all the ingredients in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cool completely before using.
Once you’ve rinsed the chicken pieces, place them in the cold brine and refrigerate overnight. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry and pick off any herbs or spices that are sticking to the skin. Let the chicken come to room temperature outside of the fridge, one and a half hours to two hours.
Mix the coating ingredients together in a bowl, transfer half to a second bowl and set up a dipping station: chicken, coating, buttermilk, second bowl of coating, tray.
Bring the oil to 320˚F in a pot deep enough so the oil comes up two inches of the way.
Just before frying, dip each piece of chicken into the coating, then into the buttermilk and back into the coating. Place the chicken on a tray.
When the oil has reached the proper temperature, carefully lower the pieces of chicken into the oil. Do not overcrowd the pot, about 2 – 3 pieces at a time. Fry for about 12 – 15 minutes until it is a deep golden brown. Remove the chicken to a tray lined with paper towels. Let cool before serving.
Adapted from The Breakfast Book. Yields 6 – 8 biscuits.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 425˚F.
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir them with a fork to blend. Slowly add 1 cup of the cream to the mixture, stirring constantly. Gather the dough together; when it holds together and feels tender, it is ready to knead. If the dough seems shaggy and pieces are dry and falling away, then slowly add enough additional cream to make the dough hold together.
Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead for 1 minute. Pat the dough into a large ball and tear off small handfuls of dough. Dip each piece into the melted butter so all sides are coated. Place the biscuits 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the biscuits are lightly browned.
HONEY APPLE BUTTER
Recipe found here. Yields about 1 – 2 cups.
2 lbs Macintosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground allspice
1 pinch kosher pink Himalayan salt
Combine the apples and cider in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples have mostly broken down, about 30 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to force the mixture through a medium sieve into a bowl. Rinse out the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan.
Whisk in the rest of the ingredients. Bring back to a simmer over medium heat and adjust the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer. Cook until the mixture reduces and thickens to a spreadable consistency, about 75 minutes. As the mixture cooks, stir occasionally at first and then more frequently as it thickens. Scrape the apple butter into a storage container and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as it cools. Once completely cool, you can remove the plastic, cover with a lid, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.