Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fried Chicken & Biscuit with Red-Eyed Gravy - July Crazy Cooking Challenge


Have I lost my mind?

Well, granted this site isn't usually filled with fried foods, but when a challenge is thrown down I am there to answer it. Fried chicken is such a traditional dish and I have never attempted it. That makes me determined to master it.

Now when I brought up the challenge to my husband his reaction was worse than I first suspected.  "Fried chicken on a gas range?" Okay, I hadn't really thought of the fire hazard issue. I was determined not to let him and reality spoil my fun. At first my husband suggested I try my little culinary experiment outside on our portable burner. I was less than thrilled with that idea since the weather had been less than pleasant.

Eventually I settled for the portable conduction burner that was still sitting in it's box. It would allow me to use a traditional cast iron skillet (which doesn't have the highest sides!) without the fear of starting a fire in the house. On an induction burner only the pan and it's contents, which must be conductive,  get hot so any splattered oil wouldn't be able to catch fire.



The recipe was another matter.

Tina, from Mom's Crazy Cooking, who puts up the challenge each month changed the rules around this time. Instead of a small blog, we could pull our fried chicken recipe from anywhere. I am not sure that helped me much. In fact I couldn't find a single fried chicken recipe in my cookbook collection.

So one fated night I put on Diners Drive-ins and Dives to watch a segment on the restaurant Foreign and Domestic. They were serving up their classics which included a fried chicken with cheddar pepper biscuit smothered in red-eyed gravy. After a quick check I found the recipe on Food Network. Don't you just adore those late night cooking shows? My search ended almost as fast as it had started.

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As you may have guessed, July's challenge is all about fried chicken. Though mine isn't your average chicken. It is dressed up with an entourage of flavors and comfort foods.


Now I cut back on the sides for this one. I got rid of the slaw and lemon jam. I just went for the biscuit (which I knew my husband would love), and flavorful gravy to go along with a buttermilk soaked fried chicken.

Fried Chicken & Biscuit with Red Eyed Gravy
recipe from Food Network via Foreign & Domestic


You Will Need:

Chicken

  • 3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 chicken thighs

Cheddar Biscuits:

  • 3 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. + 1 1/2 Tbsp. cold shortening, cubed
  • 1/4 c. cold butter, cubed, plus more for brushing
  • 1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar
  • 1 1/2 c. buttermilk

Red-Eye Gravy:

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp. brewed coffee
  • 3 Tbsp. instant espresso
  • 2 c. milk
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 c. cooked spicy pork sausage, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Tabasco
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Start marinading the chicken the day before. Combine the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken thighs, cover and marinate for 24 hours.

An hour before the meal start on the cheddar biscuits. Preheat oven to 350. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pepper in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix.
Add the shortening and butter and mix on low speed until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the cheese and mix. Slowly add the buttermilk till all the dough is moistened.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about an inch thick. Try not to overwork it. Use a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits and place them on a baking dish lined with parchment. Brush with melted butter. Bake until they begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Now prepare the red-eyed gravy. First brown up the sausage and set aside. Make a roux by combining the butter and flour in a saucepan. 

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently till the roux darkens in color. Add the brewed and instant espresso powder, milk, cream and sausage, and stir well to incorporate the roux. Add the hot sauce, paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low heat until the mixture has a thick, gravy consistency, about 20 minutes.
Now it is time to fry the chicken. Heat a few inches of canola oil in a cast iron skillet to 320 degrees. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and smoked paprika on a plate. Drain the thighs in a colander, and then dredge in the flour mixture. Fry a few pieces at a time in the hot oil . The thighs will turn a deep golden color and the internal temperature will reach 165 degrees.


Wait for it...


When the chicken is done, place on a paper towel lined plate to soak up any extra oil. Let them cool slightly while you prepare the plates.
For each plate place a little gravy on the middle and top with a biscuit and chicken thigh. Add a little more red-eyed gravy on the top... or leave the chicken plain -your choice.


Either way, enjoy! 


Andrea
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